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Farmers’ markets continue to gain popularity as more consumers discover the benefits of purchasing local farm-fresh food. Since 1994, the number of farmers’ markets in the U.S. has increased from 2,000 to more than 8,600. Did you know there are now more than 170 successful and diverse Kentucky Proud farmers’ markets across the Commonwealth, spanning 112 counties with approximately 3,000 unique vendors?
Fresh, locally-grown and raised food is undoubtedly the main attraction at farmers’ markets but there’s so much more than produce to pique your interest. In addition to stocking your kitchen with all kinds of farm-fresh foods, many markets offer a variety of events and fun family experiences throughout the season. From educational talks and cooking demonstrations to live music and face paintings for the kiddos, there’s definitely something for everyone at a Kentucky Proud farmers’ market.
A recent UC Davis study discovered that, “for every dollar of sales, direct marketers [our farm families] are generating twice as much economic activity within the region.” Supporting local businesses also creates jobs where you live. And shopping at your local Kentucky Proud farmers’ market means your food travels fewer miles from the farm to your plate. According to the USDA, more than half of farmers traveled less than 10 miles to their market. That not only allows you to pick your food at the very peak of freshness but also conserves energy and resources in the form of decreased transportation costs and reduced packaging.
While there’s an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets, we all need to treat ourselves a bit on occasion. So, whether your guilty pleasure is a buttered slice of freshly baked bread, a glass of wine, a juicy grilled ribeye, or a big ole’ bag of kettle corn, you can find all sorts of delectable foods at your local farmers’ market. The diversity of many markets is nothing to sneeze at, even if some of the locally-grown flower bouquets might cause you a slight sniffle. Check your local Kentucky Proud farmers’ market website or Facebook page for a full list of vendors and products as well as events and fun activities during your visit.
Plan a visit to your local market where you’ll find the freshest ingredients and so much more. Kentucky Proud farmers’ markets truly are where the best of Kentucky comes together. For a complete list of Kentucky Proud farmers’ markets, visit: kyproud.com/farmersmarkets