During the Farmers Market Managers Summit held during Delaware Ag Week today, the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) announced that last year’s farmers markets hit an all-time high sales record […]
[caption id="attachment_228983" align="alignnone" width="1557"] Garlic shopping at Farmers Market | PHOTO COURTESY OF DDA[/caption]
During the Farmers Market Managers Summit held during Delaware Ag Week today, the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA) announced that last year’s farmers markets hit an all-time high sales record of $3.7 million.
In 2022, sales from all 19 Delaware community-run farmers markets totaled $3,707,815, up $430,027 from the previous record in 2019.
“This past year demonstrates that direct-to-consumer sales for Delaware-grown products are strong,” Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse said. “Delaware tends to follow the national trend that direct-to-consumer sales mainly occur at on-farm markets, farmstands, and farmers markets. So when we have a great year at farmers’ markets, our producers also see the increased business at their farm location.”
Fresh produce comprised 52% of total sales, with the remainder coming from products such as meats, cheeses, jellies, breaks, salsa, eggs, or honey.
“When comparing 2022 and 2019, we saw a decrease of 5% in the produce sales in 2022, indicating that Delawareans and visitors are looking for a more balanced food shopping experience at their local farmers market,” DDA Marketing Specialist Kathy Jackson said. “The consumer isn’t necessarily replacing shopping at the grocery store, but when they can connect to the farmer growing their food, they are also purchasing fresh meat, eggs, and other value-added products to complement their seasonal fruits and vegetables.”
Delaware farmers’ markets are run locally by municipalities, business groups, farmers, or market associations. The Department of Agriculture provides support and marketing assistance.
The 2023 market season will begin in April; most markets start operations in May and June. A current list of the 2022 markets is online at Delaware Grown, https://delawaregrown.com, and will be updated in late March for the 2023 season.
Holding the Farmers Market Managers Summit during Delaware Ag Week was a new approach for this annual meeting. One of the perks of this new location was hosting a meet and greet where farmers and market managers could connect to encourage more producer participation in the 2023 farmers market season.
Farmers and others interested in becoming a vendor, or community groups interested in starting a local market, can contact Department of Agriculture marketing specialist Kathy Jackson at (302) 698-4625 or by email at email@example.com.