The Delaware Department of Agriculture recently announced that Delaware farmers markets had nearly $3.16 million in sales in 2021. As the second-highest sales year on record, 2021 has proven demand for buying locally grown products is strong among residents of and visitors to the state.
Secretary of Agriculture Michael Scuse credits the connections made throughout 2020 when residents relied on family farms to provide produce, meat, fresh eggs, honey and more.
“When the pandemic first hit, people quickly realized that food wasn’t readily available at their grocery stores. For many Delawareans, it was their first time reaching out to a farm or visiting a farmers market so they could put food on their table,” said Scuse. “We hoped consumers would pick up in 2021 where they left off in 2020, realizing farmers play a significant role in providing fresh, nutritious products grown right here in Delaware. And they did.”
Sales from 18 Delaware community-run farmers markets this year totaled $3,159,175. Three farmers markets did not provide sales figures, which would have likely put sales closer to the 2019 record. Fresh produce made up 55 percent of total sales. The remainder came from products such as meats, cheeses, jellies, bread, salsa, eggs or honey.
There are 10 markets in Sussex County, with half of those in the Cape Region, including Lewes, Crooked Hammock in Lewes, Nassau Valley Vineyards, Rehoboth Beach, and Broadkill, based in Milton. Other markets are in Greenwood, Milford, Bethany Beach, Warren's Station in Fenwick Island and Sea Colony in Bethany Beach.
“This past year, we saw several new farmers markets open, offering more opportunities for both customers and vendors,” said Kathy Jackson, ag department marketing specialist. “We also experienced a change in the length of our market season this year. With great weather and a bountiful growing season, consumers wanted to take advantage of all the fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and other items that local farms had to offer.”
Delaware farmers markets are run locally by municipalities, business groups, farmers or market associations. The Department of Agriculture provides support and marketing assistance.
The 2022 market season will begin in April; most markets start operations in May and June. A current list of the 2021 markets is online at delawaregrown.com, and it will be updated in late March for the 2022 season.
Farmers and others interested in becoming vendors, or community groups interested in starting local market can contact Jackson at 302-698-4625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Delaware farmers market sales