More Farms Vie for the $1 Billion Spent at Farmers' Markets

The locavore movement has created a $1 billion opportunity
Farmers' markets boost margins and help growers understand shoppers Photograph by Patrick Schneider

For decades, Beechwood Orchards in Biglerville, Pa., sold its apples, peaches, and other fruits and veggies to wholesalers, who would then consolidate the produce with shipments from other farms and dispatch it to supermarkets across the region. These days, Beechwood is more often cutting out the middlemen. The orchard’s owners, Melissa Allen and her brother, now travel to as many as 14 farmers’ markets a week in places as distant as Leesburg, Va., a three-hour drive away. The family gets about half its revenue from direct sales to consumers. “It’s a new way to do things at a farm that has been around 100 years,” says Allen, the fifth generation of her family to work the soil at Beechwood.

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