It’s not just good news for local consumers. The markets have been a boon for local farmers, as well.
“They really have taken over big-time,” said Bill Clark, whose family farm has run a farm stand for generations, and who just recently entered the farmers market arena.
“Last year, we doubled our sales in farmers markets (during) 10 hours a week versus 64 hours a week at the farm stand, so its a no-brainer for me from a cost standpoint,” he said.
Clark said the wide range of offerings in a farmers market helps everyone doing business there.
“Everyone has their specialty, everyone has their strengths, and they bring all their strengths together,” he said.
Popular farmers markets, like those in Beverly, located near the train station, and Salem, which opened yesterday in Derby Square, also draw people downtown during the week, giving other local businesses a boost.
There is a lot to like about the recent growth: Local residents have access to fresh local food, farms and other small local businesses have better access to customers, and businesses are finding that working together increases everyone’s profit margins. Here’s hoping the trend continues.