Recent statistics from the United States Department of Agriculture show a boom in farmers markets, with California leading the country. California is now home to 729 farmers markets, an increase from 580 in 2010. Nationally, the 2011 Farmers Market Directory counts 7,175 farmers markets around the country, which is up 17 percent from the previous year.
The Sacramento area has been home to such long-running farmers markets as the Sunday market at 8th and X streets and Davis' farmers markets at Central Park (4th and C streets). Some new local farmers markets have also cropped up recently, including one that runs Saturdays through Oct. 15 at McClatchy Park in Oak Park.
"The remarkable growth in farmers markets is an excellent indicator of the staying power of local and regional foods," said Kathleen Merrigan, deputy secretary for the Department of Agriculture, in a statement.
Speaking of local farmers markets, look for "The Davis Farmers Market Cookbook" to be released in March 2012. The book is being co-written by Georgeanne Brennan, a James Beard winning food author who lives in Winters.
Here's a story from California Watch which probes the impact of farmers markets accepting food stamps and other forms of public assistance.