The number of farmers markets in the United States continues to grow, reports USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), reaching a total of 4,685 in August 2008. This represents a 6.8 percent increase since mid-August 2006, when AMS reported 4,385 farmers markets nationwide.
SOURCE: Agricultural Marketing Service Program Announcement, Washington, Sept. 19, 2008
In a 2002 survey of over 800 customers from a variety of indoor and open-air markets around the country, it was discovered that 60% of market shoppers also visited nearby stores on the same day; of those, 60% said that they visited those additional stores only on days that they visit the market.
SOURCE: Public Markets Phase I Report: An Overview of Existing Programs and Assessment of Opportunities
Farmers’ markets can have a substantial impact on farmers’ incomes. According to a report prepared for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, gross returns to farmers from farmers’ market sales are between 200 and 250 percent higher than sales to distributors and wholesalers. Whereas farmers earn $22 for each $100 spent by consumers for food, that amount increases to $30 with direct marketing methods.