- Category: Blog
- Published: Wednesday, 08 June 2016 16:09
- Written by Larry Lewis
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Demand for Local Foods is Helping Expand Local Farming and Farmers Markets
As the farmers market season gets under way this summer, Utah shoppers will have access to more markets, and more products from Utah’s farmer vendors. Those are the benefits of an expanding local food movement that has made Utah one of the more local-food oriented states in the country. According to the USDA, roughly 10 percent of Utah farms sell directly to consumers, while the national average is 7.8 percent.
“Early summer is an exciting time of the year for farmers markets and Utah agriculture,” said LuAnn Adams, Utah Commissioner of Agriculture and Food (UDAF). “Consumers tell us outdoor markets give them access to a broader assortment of foods, they provide consumers with alternatives, and that shopping locally really benefits the economy,” said Adams.
According to the USDA, Utahns in 2012 spent about $16 million at local farms, a 58 percent increase from 2007 sales. Also, 1,875 of Utah’s 18,000 farms (10%) sell directly to consumers.
Farmer’s market season is an important time for Utah’s Own members. It provides an opportunity for consumers and producers to connect face to face, and Utah’s Own members can demonstrate how supporting local directly impacts the agriculture and food industry in the Utah. The UDAF’s Food Safety inspectors help farmers markets vendors follow simple refrigeration and storage rules.
One Utah’s Own farmer who is enjoying the increased consumer demand is Jay Williams of Urban Farm and Feed who sells produce at two farmers markets, as well as at their farm store in Sandy.
“We have doubled the number of acres under production and have added varieties of products in the last year because of increased demand at the markets. And we are hiring more full and part time workers,” says Williams. He also plans to sell produce at their farm location in Draper.
Luke Petersen of the Petersen Family Farm in Riverton says he has increased sales by 30 percent each of the past three years. He owes it to consumers’ desire to be part of a “farm experience.”
“People can get local produce at many places now; what they really want is to visit the farm where the food is produced and get that authentic feel of the farm,” he adds.
John Borski of Borski Farms of Kaysville has been growing and selling locally for 22 years and has seen a growth of consumers and vendors at the markets. As a result he has diversified by selling more herbs, kale and other specialty products.
Thayne Tagge of Tagge’s Famous Fruit and Veggie Farms has also experienced more consumer demand, and as a result he is planting a few thousand new raspberry plants on his acres in the upper Ogden Valley.
“I am excited about the fruit harvest this year,” he says. “The fruit set has been the best since I started farming in 1997,” he added.
At least two new farmers markets have opened in the past year; The Holliday Market at Village Center Plaza in Salt Lake City, and the 25th Street Market in North Logan.
Salt Lake City’s Downtown Farmers Market at Pioneer Park, opens June 11th and is anticipating large crowds. Later in the year, the market plans to feature at least one vendor who grows lettuce and other greens using an aquaponics system. This hi-tech form of agriculture will hopefully help the market offer products year round.
Adams says agriculture is adapting to a changing market that is demanding fresh local products year round.
Utah’s Own is excited this year to be a sponsor of the Downtown Farmer’s Market in Salt Lake City. On July 23rd Utah’s Own will be sponsoring a ball-cap give-away at participating member company booths. Shoppers will have the opportunity to win a ball cap as well as additional prizes. Follow Utah’s Own on Facebook or Instagram for additional details."
More information and photos are available by contacting the following farmers or farmers markets:
Maryann Alston: Urban Farm and Feed: 8767 S 700 E, Sandy, UT 84070 Phone: (801) 792-1419
Luke Petersen: Petersen Family Farm: 11800 South & 4000 West, Riverton, UT 84096 Phone: (801) 999-8548
John Borski: Borski Farms: 251 W 100 S, Kaysville, UT 84037 Phone: (801) 941-9620
Thayne Tagge: Tagge’s Famous Fruits and Veggies: (801) 755-8031
Alison Einerson, Market Manager, SLC Downtown Farmers Market, Phone: 801-328-5070
Contact: Larry Lewis (801) 538-7104
Cell (801) 514-2152
Commissioner Adams: (801) 514-2152
posted: June 8, 2016