More and more, consumers are demanding locally grown produce. To attain the treasured locally-produced fruits and vegetables, consumers have various options, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Farmers benefit from this demand, selling their goods across various platforms.
Roadside stands, farmers' markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs) programs – all serve to allow consumers to more readily purchase produce directly from the farmers who cultivated it. However, the USDA reports that other outlets are fast emerging as consumer demand heats up. Now, local foods are getting to consumers through supermarkets, small specialty stores, restaurants, schools and hospitals, enabling farmers to earn money across multiple platforms.
The report analyzed how local foods travel from farms to consumers. Through extensive studies of five different farm goods – apples, blueberries, spring mix, beef and milk – the report concluded that farmers' markets are not "the only or even most important outlet for" farmers to sell their goods. Rather, farmers routinely sell their goods through more than one channel. The study found that this "market diversification may be a strategy" that helps farmers reap the most profits from their goods while incurring the least amount of costs.
Farm life is looking more attractive as U.S. farming income is set to rise this year and if farmers learn effective ways to sell more of their goods locally, it will only continue its climb.