Farmers markets aren’t just for dirty hippies anymore. Everyone’s starting to catch on to food straight off the farm, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service.
From 1997 to 2007 direct-to-consumer farming shot up by 104.7 percent, outclassing 47.6 growth in total agriculture during the same period.
The food site The Packer writes:
“To me, what it shows is a recognition of value there is in having a relationship with a farmer,” said Miller, who works for an advocacy group that represents farmers markets on state and federal levels.
“It’s not just farmers markets, but also (community-supported agriculture), pick-your-own type of programs, that type of thing,” said [Stacy] Miller, [executive director of the Martinsburg, W.V.-based Farmers Market Coalition]. “People are starting to recognize the health aspects and social implications. There’s accountability in knowing where your food comes from Ö some inherent, built-in credibility and traceability.
“People just want to support agriculture in their communities. They’re getting disillusioned with big industry that they’ve invested their trust in. That’s also visible in the food chain. The model people have had faith in is not working. Direct marketing gives people much more power in the whole process.”
By the way, if I’m choosing one farm to buy direct from, it’s definitely Hickory Farms, home of cheese log yumminess.