SALT LAKE CITY – From Logan to St. George, the variety of fresh foods for consumers and millions of dollars annually for Utah farmers are being promoted this week in Utah during National Farmers Market Week.
Larry Lewis with the state Department of Agriculture says Utahns spent nearly $16 million in 2012 in direct sales at more than 1,800 farms and ranches around the state, including farmers markets, that sell directly to consumers.
“Farmers say they like the markets because they can cut out the middle men,” says Lewis. “It helps them with their profit margin. They sell directly to their customers. They make more of a profit, and of course profit is what helps keep farming sustainable and keeps our economy growing.”
Lewis notes sales at Utah’s farmers’ markets increased nearly 60 percent from 2007 to 2012.
He says the rapidly-growing popularity of high quality fruits, vegetables, meats and grains offered at farmers markets appears to be fueled by consumers wanting to know more about how their food is grown.
“They want to know the farmer,” says Lewis. “They can ask him if they’re organic. They want to know how that food is grown. So the consumer can really get to know their farmer, understand how farming works, and how food is raised.”
Lewis says the U.S. Department of Agriculture reports the number of farmers markets across the nation nearly doubled, from 4,600 in 2008 to nearly 8,200 in 2013.