NC has 10th most farmers markets in U.S., report finds

MATTHEWS, NC (WBTV) - All of the rain we've seen this summer has hurt the livelihoods of some local farmers. Still, farmers markets are popping up everywhere.

It only takes a few years before repeat business becomes more like a family tradition. There were signs of tradition at the Matthews Community Farmer's Market Saturday.

"I've been coming to the farmers market for the past 21 years. It started in a small community outreach to help the community and I just really believe in local farming and local foods," says shopper Bernadette Franco.

The Matthews farmers market is one of more than 8,000 in North Carolina, according to the latest USDA directory. That number puts the Tar Heel state in 10th in the United States when it comes to the number of markets selling locally-grown produce.

"You know where your food comes from. You can get to know the farmer who grew it and how they grew it," says market organizer Pauline Wood.

Recently, the North Carolina 10-percent campaign recorded 40 million dollars in local food purchases. The program launched three years ago. It encourages consumers and businesses to spend 10 percent of their food dollars on locally produced food.

"To compliment the produce we also have folks who sell naturally raised meats. Beef, pork, and chicken and we do have some wonderful baked good sellers. You can get locally made bread," Wood says.

The USDA finds businesses in major U.S. cities located near a farmers market have seen increase in sales of anywhere from 19 thousand to 15 million dollars.

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