The latest Farmers' Market Directory is out from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and there are 1,000 new ones in the mix. That brings the total to 7,175 markets in operation throughout the United States, 17 percent more than last year.
"The remarkable growth in farmers markets is an excellent indicator of the staying power of local and regional foods," said Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, in a statement. "These outlets provide economic benefits for producers to grow their businesses and also to communities by providing increased access to fresh fruits and vegetables and other foods. In short, they are a critical ingredient in our nation's food system."
The reporting is voluntary between April 18 and June 24, so not all markets may be represented. The directory was released to mark National Farmers' Market Week on Aug. 7-13.
Officials say the interest in markets has spread since 2010 beyond the far West and Northeast states, where popularity is established. Alaska and Texas had the most growth at 46 and 38 percent respectively.
Ohio comes in the top 10 states for new markets with 278 markets in the directory. The top 10 states for markets include: California (729 markets), New York (520), Michigan (349), Illinois (305) and Ohio (278).
The directory is available at http://farmersmarkets.usda.gov.