Back to the soil: Families look to local farms to provide healthy options

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 14 2012 6:24 p.m. MDT

Attendance and vendor participation at local farmers markets is also at an all-time high.

The USDA, which registers and tracks markets across the country, reported Friday that farmers market popularity is "mostly due to the growing consumer interest in obtaining fresh products directly from the farm."

Farmers markets, the agency said, are an important sales outlet for agricultural producers nationwide. 

"People find a value in supporting local businesses," said Salt Lake City's Downtown Farmers Market communication director Nick Como. "And there is certainly a health benefit from locally sourced foods."

The downtown market recently added an additional sales day, offering fresh produce options on both Tuesday evenings and on Saturday mornings. And to accommodate the swelling crowds, this year officials doubled the size of the aisles within the market and stocked on-site ATMs with even more cash.

The farmers market has invigorated an area of downtown that traditionally has been challenged economically. Pioneer Park also hosts concerts Thursday nights and family-friendly movies on Fridays.

In addition to the central market, many cities host their own, bringing together local farmers and gardeners alike to sell their crops.

Como said the presence of new food trucks in Salt Lake City is also a testament to the residents' overall desire to have access to fresh food and local vendors.

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