Delaware’s farmers’ market season soon to begin


New markets join in Bellefonte, Dover

The Delaware farmers’ market season launches this month, featuring new markets in Dover and Bellefonte, with farmers and markets fresh off a record-setting sales season of nearly $2 million last year.

The 25 local farmers’ markets will be open during the spring and summer this year, offering fresh Delaware produce and other products as they come into season. The Milton Farmers’ Market will kick off the season on April 19, with 13 markets to start in May, nine in June and one in July, with one market operating year-round. This is the eighth year of Delaware’s farmers’ market program.

Bethany Beach’s farmers’ market will open on June 16. The Fenwick Island Farmers’ Market will open June 24. Georgetown’s farmers’ market will open May 22. The Historic Lewes Farmers Market will open May 11. Millsboro’s farmers’ market will open May 29. The Millville Farmers Market will open June 6. The Rehoboth Beach Farmers Market will open May 7. The Farmers’ Market at Sea Colony opens June 26.

Officials said the success of the locally-run markets is due to a strong interest in healthy eating and locally sourced food. Last year saw explosive growth in the number of markets, growing from 16 locations to 29, they said. This year includes new markets in Bellefonte and in downtown Dover.

“The strength of our farmers’ market program benefits farmers and consumers alike, making the agricultural industry strong and supporting local jobs,” Gov. Jack Markell said. “These gathering places help make our communities more vibrant and lively.”

Officials said the farmers’ markets provide a significant economic boost to Delaware agriculture. Last year, farmers’ markets sold $1.96 million worth of goods at 29 locations. The 2011 season featured 16 market sites and brought in $1.8 million, while the 2010 season had 14 sites and $1.3 million in sales.

“Each of these markets helps bring people face-to-face with their local farmers, which broadens Delawareans’ understanding of agriculture and deepens their appreciation for farmers’ contributions,” said Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee. “They are a joy to visit and see how consumers and farmers learn from each other.”

Five markets will offer Electronic Benefits Transfer card transactions this year, allowing families to purchase local produce and food items as part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Those markets include the Historic Lewes Farmers Market, Wilmington Farmers’ Market at Cool Spring, Village Fresh (Wilmington), Co-Op Farmers’ Market (Newark) and Western Sussex (Seaford) market.

Depending on the vendors, other products such as cut flowers, bedding plants, baked goods, jams, jellies or honey may also be offered. Consumers also will be able to attend special programs and pick up information on nutrition, community events and recipes.

The farmers’ markets are supported and coordinated by the Delaware Department of Agriculture, but are funded and hosted by local groups, organizations and municipal governments.

For a complete list of farmers’ markets and on-the-farm markets, along with opening dates and hours, visit dda.delaware.gov.