Visit a Farmers Market the First Week of August

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The nation will celebrate National Farmers Market Week during the first week of August. Tennessee was number one in the nation in farmers market growth in 2014. Photo of July 25 Farmers Market in Franklin, Tenn., courtesy Tennessee Department of Agriculture. Download image
Farmers markets across Tennessee will be celebrating the week of August 2–8 as National Farmers Market Week. Farmers markets play an important role in our local food economies as a source of fresh, local and organic food and this week recognizes the farmers who bring this food to market.
The number of farms with direct sales to consumers has increased steadily since 1997 says Hal Pepper, a specialist at the University of Tennessee Extension Center for Profitable Agriculture. Census of Agriculture data reports that overall, from 1997 to 2012 the number of Tennessee farms with direct sales to consumers increased from 2,694 to 3,679, a 36.6 percent increase. And the value of agriculture products sold directly to consumers increased by 128.9 percent, from $8.4 million to $19.2 million. The average value of direct sales per farm in Tennessee has also steadily increased and in 2012, the latest year data are available, was $5,214.
Amy Tavalin, farmers market specialist with Tennessee Department of Agriculture, notes that Tennessee was number one in the nation in 2014 for farmers market growth. There are 154 farmers markets listed on the department’s Pick Tennessee Products website. The new Pick Tennessee Mobile App makes it easy to find farmers markets with location, hours and days of operation and contact information.
Many farmers markets increasingly accept credit and debit cards and offer EBT technology for use by Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients. Farmers markets are important outlets for agricultural producers and consumers, as they offer increased opportunities for farmers to meet the demand for fresh, affordable, convenient and healthy products sold directly from the farm.

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) Administrator Anne Alonzo will kick-off National Farmers Market Week on Saturday, August 1, 2015, at the Santa Fe Farmers Market in New Mexico. AMS will also host a special event the USDA Farmers Market on Friday, August 7, just outside the USDA headquarters in Washington, DC.
The UT Institute of Agriculture provides instruction, research and outreach through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, UT AgResearch, including its system of 10 research and education centers, and UT Extension offices in every county in the state.

Hal Pepper, UT Center for Profitable Agriculture, 931-486-2777,