Selling direct allows consumers have an opportunity to put a “face” on who is growing the product, which they do not necessarily get from traditional retail food outlets. This form of direct marketing is also regarded as agritourism. Consumers also have the chance to purchase products that originate locally and are promoted as being “fresh.”
Since USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service began tracking farmers’ markets in 1994, the number of markets in the United States has grown from 1,755 to 8,144 in 2013, an increase of about 4 percent from the previous year. The states with the most farmers' markets include California (759), New York (637), Illinois (336), Michigan (331) and Ohio (300). Total annual sales at U.S. farmers' markets are estimated at $1 billion.
Farmers Market Database, AMS, USDA
Farm Food Safety Information, Iowa State University Extension
Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), Iowa State University Extension
Food Licensing Requirements, Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals