Food Industry

Published on December 29th, 2011 | by Heather Carr


Winter Farmers Markets Increasing

The number of winter farmers markets increased 38% since last year.

In 2010, 886 farmers markets operated in the winter months. This year, 1225 farmers markets are operating during winter. That’s nearly 17% of the total 7222 farmers markets.

Economics of Farmers Markets

Since the economic downturn, the agricultural sector has fared relatively well. More people are returning to school and agricultural colleges have seen their enrollment increase.

Farmers markets also create more jobs per square foot than nearby grocery stores. The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that 500 farmers markets with modest support from their local communities will create 13,500 jobs over five years.

Farmers markets bring in more than $1 billion each year. The increase in the number of farmers markets and the time they’re open during the year will provide a greater economic benefit to the local communities.

Factors Contributing to the Increase

With household budgets tighter, people are looking for more value for their money. Produce from the farmers market costs less than that from a grocery store.

The nutritional value of a fruit or vegetable decreases over time after it’s been picked. Farmers at the farmers market typically harvest their produce in the morning before coming to the farmers market, while produce at the grocery store might be two weeks or more out of the field.

The low start up costs for market gardening have also contributed to the increase in farmers markets.

The top ten states for winter farmers markets are:

  1. New York, with 180 winter farmers markets
  2. California, 153
  3. Pennsylvania, 78
  4. North Carolina, 73
  5. Ohio, 50
  6. Maryland, 48
  7. Florida, 46
  8. Massachusetts, 43
  9. Virginia, 40
  10. Michigan, 33

Turnips photo via Shutterstock

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About the Author

Heather Carr loves food, politics, and innovative ways to make the world a better place. She counts Jacques Pepin and Speed Racer among her inspirations. You can find her on Facebook or .

3 Responses to Winter Farmers Markets Increasing

  1. T.U. Foley says:

    Hi, love you site very informative, was working on an article on winter and needed to add some food information and your page was the one I chose. Most people do not realize these farmers are out there in the winter as well with produce that is just as good for us in the winter, as well as in those balmy days of summer. Your listing of the states as well Awesome. Thanks I find this very informative. I am on google+ so I + your page & added you. We all need good information so I am pasting it on. ;-)

    • Heather Carr says:

      Hi, T.U.,
      I’m glad you found it informative. I think you’re right, that a lot of people don’t realize farmers have healthy, fresh produce in the winter, too. Thanks for helping get the word out.

  2. Pingback: You vote every single day.

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