National Farmers Market Week is underway. This year the seven days set aside for the nation to celebrate, paradoxically, all things local falls between August 4-10, giving us four full days and five PFM markets to get in the spirit.
The US Department of Agriculture, the governing body for Farmers Market week, informs us that there are now 8,144 farmers markets operating in the 50 states, garnering over $7 billion dollars in annual sales. Money spent at area Farmers Markets stays in the hands of agricultural producers, which in turn bolsters the health of rural economies.
Oregon is home to 160 of those markets. Our neighbors to the south, California (Go Bears!) host 759 Farmers Markets. Understandable, given the state’s might as an agricultural producer and the fact it is the country’s most populated state. We could make the argument that we, in Oregon are about the quality, which is true, except the Markets in Santa Monica, Berkeley, the Ferry Building and Davis are all really awesome. So instead, we can claim, claim accurately even, that we have more markets per capita than California. We really love our Markets in our corner of the NW.
Except it’s not really a competition. PFM is a firm believer that high water raises all the boats. A theory we were able to put into practice earlier this year when PFM spearheaded an effort to promote Farmers Markets in the Willamette Valley with billboards, radio spots and online advertising. In case you missed all the hard work, you can read more here
Farmers Markets are many things, a community gathering place, a different model for practicing family farming but markets are ultimately about the people who apply thought, experience and hard work to their livelihood: our farmers, ranchers and growers. It is right to give them to give them thanks and praise this or really, any week.