Farmers markets are thriving in Delaware

January 13, 2023

Walk through George H.P. Smith Park in Lewes any Saturday in spring, summer or fall, and your attention will surely be drawn to a collection of pop-up tents along Blockhouse Pond. Within this village of vendors, farmers from all over the Delmarva Peninsula sell a variety of produce, baked goods and other locally sourced items.

By the end of the 2022 season, more than 52,000 people had visited the Historic Lewes Farmers Market and its smaller Wednesday venue at Crooked Hammock. This success punctuates the continued growth of farmers markets statewide. 

Earlier this week, the Delaware Department of Agriculture reported the 2022 season was the state’s most prosperous yet for farmers markets, with reported sales exceeding $3.7 million across 21 community-run organizations. The record total exceeds 2021 by nearly $550,000 and surpasses the previous high set in 2019 by $430,000. 

Like Lewes, the Rehoboth Beach Farmers Market, Broadkill Farmers Market in Milton and Nassau Valley Vineyards Farmers Market outside Lewes all boast a variety of vendors, and offer a diverse selection of local produce and products. 

Sussex County has the most farmers markets of Delaware’s three counties, with 10 of the 21. Each Cape Region market is held on a different day of the week, maximizing residents’ and vendors’ opportunities to buy and sell. 

And markets aren’t just for the affluent: The USDA-funded Farmers Market Nutrition Program provides vouchers for WIC recipients and low-income seniors to spend at Delaware farmers markets and farm stands. More than $110,000 from this program was spent in Delaware this year. Seven farmers markets accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program payments, and three of them double the value of SNAP funds.

Another benefit of successful farmers markets was described by a Historic Lewes Farmers Market press release this week. The market awarded three scholarships to help small-scale Delmarva farmers attend sustainable farming conferences. Furthering the education and boosting the skillsets of our farmers can only reap positive outcomes.

Delaware’s No. 1 industry is agriculture. With continued investments in our farmers, agriculture will continue to be the backbone of the state’s economy.


  • Editorials are considered and written by Cape Gazette Editorial Board members, including Publisher Chris Rausch, Editor Jen Ellingsworth, News Editor Nick Roth and reporters Ron MacArthur and Chris Flood. 

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