By Hannah Duncan SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) — The number of farmers’ markets in the United States has grown from around 2,000 in 1994 to over 8,000 today, according to the USDA National Farmers’ Market Directory. With over 600 in New York alone, they are rapidly increasing in popularity, and they have a big impact on local farmers.
Thursday was the last day of the outdoor Fayetteville Farmers’ Market, where customers found everything from cheese, to kettle corn, to fresh vegetables. Thomas Stone is one of the owners of Stone Brothers Farm & Greenhouse, which is a 500-acre dairy, beef, and greenhouse operation. He has been working with his three brothers on the farm for 30 years. While they do have a retail site on the farm, Stone said the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market is essential to their business because of the remote location of their actual farm in Canastota, New York.
“We need to get out and bring our product to the people because we don’t get a lot of traffic beyond the spring season up there,” Stone said.
Stone is at the farmers’ market every week, which has helped him triple his sales. While similar products are sold in grocery stores, farmers’ markets are much better for the farmers themselves. In 2017, American farmers received only 17.4 cents of every dollar that Americans spent on food, but at farmers’ markets, they get around 90 cents on the dollar. Robert Button, a cold brew producer at Recess Coffee, said the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market has really helped the company grow.
“It’s good for us to be able to branch out and tell people about our new distributions or just about our product in general if they haven’t heard of it,” Button said. “Even just today I’ve had multiple people who had never heard of us before buy a couple pounds.”
At the Farmers’ Market each week, Recess Coffee sells a mix of cold brew, hot coffee, and baked goods such as vegan cookies. Button says his favorite part about going to the market is getting to know both customers, and other vendors.
“Everybody’s really fun,” Button said. “It’s like its own special like, comradery, but other than that, meeting a lot of customers who are actually interested in coffee or want to know more about coffee, that’s always fun for me.”
While the weather resulted in smaller crowds, it did not stop all the customers from going out to get some of their favorite foods at the market. People brought their friends, families, and even their dogs to brave the cold temperatures. Next week the market will move indoors inside the Shoppes at Town Center.