Delaware farmers' markets hit the $1 million mark

    If you made a trip to a Delaware farmers’ market this past summer, your purchase helped first state farmers mark a milestone this season.

    If you made a trip to a Delaware farmers’ market last summer, your purchase helped first state farmers mark a milestone.

    With four more Department of Agriculture sponsored farmers’ markets in Delaware this season, sales of  locally grown fruits and veggies along with plants and baked goods reached more $1.1 million dollars between April and November.

    Sue Debre cuts flowers for the Lewes Farmers' Market at her "Lucky Penny Produce" farmette
    Sue Dubre cuts flowers for the Lewes Farmers' Market at her "Lucky Penny Produce" farmette

    Delaware had 15 markets this year compared to eleven in 2008 which brought in $798,000.

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    The figure does not include sales from the 90 on-farm markets and roadside stands throughout the state.

    Delaware’s agriculture secretary says reaching the $1 million mark is proof  farmers delivered exactly what consumers wanted.

    “First, there is a demand and interest among Delaware consumers in home-grown, fresh, local produce,” Delaware agriculture secretary, Ed Kee, said.  “Second, it acknowledges the great job Delaware farmers do in producing high quality vegetables, fruit and other farm products.”

    Department of Agriculture Marketing Communications Officer Kelli Steele said while they expected an increase in revenue with adding more markets, bringing in more than $1.1 million was something they never imagined.

    “I think the main surprise came because when we started off this year the economy as a whole was down,” Steele said.  “I think more and more people want to know where their food comes from.  And while it may be cheaper to buy produce at one of the local grocery stores, you don’t know where that produce is coming from.  So I think more and more people  are taking advantage of the local factor.”

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    As far as adding more farmers’ markets next year, Steel says she’s already had an inquiry from another Delaware town interested in establishing one.

    Click here for a list of Delaware farmers’ markets.

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