FRESNO, Calif. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the number of urban farmers markets has proliferated across the nation, driven by a demand for locally grown fruits and vegetables.
After 18 years of steady increases, there are now 7,864 farmers markets registered across the country with the USDA. In 1994, there were 1,744.
The past year saw a 9.6 percent increase. The biggest hikes were in the mid-Atlantic states and the Southeast. But California, the nation's biggest agricultural producer, has the most markets with 827, followed by New York's 647.
The department has worked to make farmers markets accessible to more people by outfitting some with equipment that accepts payments from government-subsidized food programs.