Researchers, according to a statement from Penn State, collected data from 15% of more than 330 farmers’ markets in the state. The gross sales of this 15% were approximately $18 million.
Extrapolated for all 330, the researchers believe their estimate of $100 million is conservative.
“Outdoor farmers markets, on-farm markets and public markets are essential businesses that provide more than just fresh food,” said Brian Moyer, associate with Penn State Extension’s education program in business and community vitality. “They create jobs, help boost the local economy, and allow farms and food artisans to retain a much higher share of the food dollar.”
And during the pandemic, local organizers added a key extra benefit: community.
“We are having a very good summer at the market”, Alan Scott, president of the Warren PA Farmers Market, said.
“The weather was favorable” he added. “Buyers seem to enjoy the experience of getting locally grown produce.”
The market is held in downtown Warren at the Midtown parking lot.
The Penn State study was funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and was specifically aimed at fostering data collection within these markets, the first time it has been done statewide.
“Farmers markets are more than beautiful events in our communities,” Moyer said. “They are essential to our local food economy. Markets provide a common space for farms and food businesses to offer their products and incubate new businesses. »
The Warren Farmer’s Market opened in mid-June.
While vegetables obviously arrive as summer progresses, local organizers have built a market that includes much more than these vegetables.
Some of those other offerings included maple syrup, artisans, candles and soaps as well as flowers and, according to one of their Facebook posts, horribly beautiful donuts.
They have also integrated music every week to drive more traffic to the marketplace.
Scott said the market will be open until the end of October, from 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday.