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The farmers' market fad is running out of steam

Despite the awesomeness of fresh peaches, farmers' market growth is slowing down.
Despite the awesomeness of fresh peaches, farmers' market growth is slowing down.
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In many parts of the country, it's that time of year when you can go get a pile of zucchini at your local farmers' market for a few bucks. There are a lot more markets to meet your zucchini-buying needs than 5 years ago, but new data from the USDA suggests the growth in farmers' markets is finally settling down after years of booming growth.

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Clearly there was a recent acceleration in the number of markets, but it's flattening out. Here's what that looks like in terms of annual growth rates.

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Are we saturated with farmers' markets? The answer is complicated. As I wrote at US News last year, places with the most concentrated demand are saturated and may in some cases have too many markets. Less-populated areas may not have enough demand to sustain a market. In addition, only around 20 percent accept SNAP as payment. Expanding that might expand demand for lower-income customers.

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