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Farmers Markets in NM, Nation Continue Rapid Growth

PHOTO: It's "National Farmers Market Week" in New Mexico and across the nation, promoting the fresh foods available to consumers and the economic benefit to farmers. Photo courtesy U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
PHOTO: It's "National Farmers Market Week" in New Mexico and across the nation, promoting the fresh foods available to consumers and the economic benefit to farmers. Photo courtesy U.S. Dept. of Agriculture
August 6, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Fresh foods for consumers and millions of dollars for New Mexico's farmers each year are being promoted this week during "National Farmers' Market Week."

Nancy Erickson, manager of the ABQ Uptown Growers Market in Albuquerque, said farmers' markets in the region are growing very fast and have become a major source of income for growers.

"The farmers' markets provide an opportunity for the local farmers to directly market to the customers and save any middleman costs - and to expand their sales," she said.

It appears that New Mexicans and Americans in general are spending more time and money at farmers' markets. The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that there are 65 farmers' markets in New Mexico today, reflecting an increase of more than 50 percent in the past decade.

Erickson said the rapidly growing popularity of the high-quality fruits, vegetables, meats and grains offered at farmers' markets appears to be fueled by consumers wanting to know more about how their food is grown.

"There's a local food movement throughout the country," she said, "where people want to get back to local food that's produced in their own communities, was on the vine yesterday and is on their table tonight."

Across the nation, according to the USDA, the number of farmers' markets has nearly doubled, from 4,600 in 2008 to nearly 8,200 last year.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NM