USDA Announces that National Farmers Market Directory Totals 6,132 Farmers Markets In 2010: Midwest Has Largest Growth As National Total Increases 16 PercentWASHINGTON, Aug. 4, 2010 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced that the 2010 National Farmers Market Directory lists 6,132 operational farmers markets, representing 16 percent growth over 2009 when the agency reported 5,274. The 2010 National Farmers Market Directory results are being released as part of National Farmers Market Week declared by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack between Aug. 1-7, 2010. "Seeing such continued strong growth in the number of U.S. farmers markets indicates that regional food systems can provide great economic, social and health benefits to communities across the country," said Vilsack. "Farmers markets provide fresh, local products to communities across the country while offering economic opportunities for many producers of all sizes." See the chart on numbers of farmers markets 1994-2010. Other findings from the 2010 USDA National Farmers Market Directory include: STATE STATISTICS * Top 10 states with the most farmers markets: California (580), New York (461), Illinois (286), Michigan (271), Iowa (229), Massachusetts (227), Ohio (213), Wisconsin (204), Pennsylvania (203) and North Carolina (182); and * Top 10 states, by percentage, with market growth from 2009-2010: Missouri (77), Minnesota (61), Idaho (60), Michigan (60), Indiana (47), South Dakota (46), Arkansas (41), Washington (37), Ohio (36) and Oklahoma (31). OFF SEASON OPERATIONS * 886 farmers markets are open for operation in the off-season (between November-March); and * Off-season farmers markets operate in 47 states and the District of Columbia. The USDA National Farmers Market Directory can be found at http://farmersmarkets.usda.gov. Farmers markets can be searched by state, county, zip code and participation in federal nutrition assistance programs. Results from the USDA National Farmers Market Directory are based on voluntary reporting from farmers market managers. In 2010, USDA collected electronic reporting for the first time; USDA has been tallying farmers markets since 1994.