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Agriculture Press Release

July 26, 2001

NATIONAL FARMERS’ MARKET WEEK AUGUST 5-11

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charles H. Bronson today joined U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman in proclaiming August 5-11 "National Farmers’ Market Week."

"Florida currently has 51 direct community farmers’ markets," Bronson said. "These markets benefit farmers by providing direct commercial outlets for their products. They also benefit consumers by providing easy access to a wide variety of fresh, wholesome, locally grown commodities that enhance their diet."

A farmers’ market is a place where farmers come together to sell produce directly to the consumer. Most markets not only have fresh fruits and vegetables, but also include fish, poultry, dairy and meats. Many involve wholesale trade, allowing brokers to sell to each other. Some farmers’ markets are designed exclusively for local growers. These markets provide farmers a profitable way of selling crops by cutting out the intermediary, and are often more accessible to low-income communities. They are a place for business and trade, giving vendors a better opportunity to get to know each other and learn the needs and wants of people within their community.

"Consumers benefit from the freshness, quality and wide selection of locally grown products," Bronson said. "Meeting and interacting with the farmer who grows the food also helps consumers develop a special bond of trust in the integrity of our growers."

The number of farmers markets in the United States has grown in recent years. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the latest national figures show that the number of farmers markets stands at more than 2,800 -- an increase of 63 percent from 1994 to 2000. Sales generated by farmers have been estimated to exceed $1 billion a year, with most of the money going directly to small family farmers.

In declaring "National Farmers Market Week," Veneman noted that farmers’ markets and roadside stands have always been a way for Americans to stay in touch with their heritage and roots. Today, farmers’ markets are also important to the success of American agriculture by allowing small farmers to sell their fresh produce directly to consumers.

For information on community farmers markets in Florida, including locations, maps, and days and hours of operation, visit the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services web site at www.fl-ag.com and click on "Direct Community Farmers’ Markets." Information can also be obtained by calling 1-800-357-4273, or writing:

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
Bureau of State Farmers’ Markets
541 East Tennessee Street
Tallahassee, FL 32308

For information on farmers markets nationwide, including USDA’s National Directory of Farmers Markets, visit USDA’s web site at www.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets or call 1-800-384-8704.



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