Where to Find the Best Farmers Markets in the U.S.

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If you’re a regular at your local farmers’ market, hopefully you got a vote in for it in the 2010 “America’s Favorite Farmers Market” contest, put on by the American Farmland Trust (AFT).

Most produce in the U.S. is picked four to seven days before being placed on supermarket shelves and is shipped for an average of 1,500 miles before being sold. Photo: Amanda Wills, Earth911.com

The contest, which attracted more than 50,000 online votes, was designed to raise national awareness about the importance of supporting fresh food from local farms and farmers, while highlighting those that shine in each state.

Markets were categorized as Boutique, Small, Medium or Large, depending on number of vendors, with the top 20 from each listed. The top markets in each state were also highlighted.

Leading the votes in the large market category was the City of Rochester Public Market in Rochester, N.Y., receiving more than 5,200 votes. The market has been in operation for 105 years, has space for more than 300 vendors and is visited by more than 40,000 people each week, making it one of the largest and longest-running farmers markets in the country.

“Being named America’s Favorite Farmers Market is a well-deserved distinction that brings national attention to one of Rochester’s most significant destinations and amenities,” said Rochester Mayor Robert J. Duffy.

Rounding out the top three were Lansdowne Farmers Market in Landsdowne, Penn. and Glenwood Sunday Market in Chicago.

Though the popularity of farmers markets continues to rise, the number of farms and ranches are in decline. According to AFT, an estimated 13 million additional acres of farmland growing fruits and vegetables would be needed in the U.S. to meet the minimum daily requirement of fruits and vegetables set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Farmers typically travel less than 100 miles to bring their items to market, a fraction of the 1,500-mile average most fruits and vegetables travel to reach their point-of-purchase at a traditional grocery store.

The USDA offers an online farmers market search, listing more than 6,200 local markets around the country. The Eat Well Guide also offers a great search tool for finding local farmers markets in your area, searchable by a variety of products and categories.

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