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Nevada Consumers Meet Growers: It's National Farmers Market Week

The USDA estimates farmers markets that have been open at least two years have seen a 64 percent increase in customer traffic. Courtesy: Shirley's Farmers Markets
The USDA estimates farmers markets that have been open at least two years have seen a 64 percent increase in customer traffic. Courtesy: Shirley's Farmers Markets
August 5, 2015

RENO, Nev. - Americans increasingly want to know where their food comes from and how it was grown, which may account for the booming popularity of farmers markets in Nevada and around the nation.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recognizes the first week of August as "National Farmers Market Week."

Chris Tisdale, an assistant with Shirley's Farmers Markets in the Reno area, said he believes business is growing because the customer can speak directly with the farmer about the food they're selling.

"The more they're cooking at home and the more they're finding out that maybe a processing plant isn't where you want to get your stuff from," he said, "the more they're coming out to markets, and they're actually learning about what they're eating. "

Tisdale said he agrees with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's estimate of a 64 percent increase in customer traffic in farmers markets open for at least two years. He said it can take three or four years for a market to get established and grow a customer base.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the nation's 8,400 farmers markets play an important role in sustaining family farms and revitalizing rural communities. Tisdale said consumers also have been willing to pay a little more for fresh-grown produce, which helps support those who grow the nation's food supply.

"They've got to make a living and they're not gigantic corporations," he said. "A lot of them are families that have been doing this for generations. They're not getting rich off of it, but they're keeping their heads up."

Tisdale said he believes the many television cooking and lifestyle shows, some centered on organic and more wholesome foods, also are helping to drive the growth of farmers markets.

Information on Shirley's Farmers Markets is online at shirleysfarmersmarkets.com. Find farmers markets by ZIP code at search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets.

Mike Clifford/Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NV