As winter loosens its tight grasp on the First State, local farmers, vendors, market masters and shoppers are gearing up for another farmers’ market season, which could surpass last year’s record-breaking sales.

As winter loosens its tight grasp on the First State, local farmers, vendors, market masters and shoppers are gearing up for another farmers’ market season, which could surpass last year’s record-breaking sales.

Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee said the First State is looking forward to another great growing season.

“Whether you buy local from a farmers’ market or roadside stand, you can get the best and freshest produce right here in Delaware,” Kee said.

A few crops, namely asparagus and strawberries, are running a little late this year due to the unusually cold winter and spring; however Key said they’re on their way. It’s too early in the season, he added, to determine whether the full summer crops, like sweet corn and tomatoes, will be late or on time.

“They certainly won’t be early,” he said. “It’s too soon to tell at this point.”

The 2013 season, which featured 26 markets in all three Delaware counties, raked in about $2.1 million, up by $200,000 from 2012.

Kee said those sales numbers are bound to increase during the 2014 season, which will again feature 26 markets throughout the state.

“There is more and more interest in locally grown produce and other locally grown foods and I think that trend will continue for a while,” he said.

As more people become interested in farmers’ markets, the state has put forth an effort to make the shopping experience more technologically savvy.

The Buy Local Guide, at, features a list of farmers’ markets, farm stands and more. The revamped Delaware Fresh app for mobile devices, available for download at, now offers a search function to help users find products faster. There are also new editions of the Delaware Ag Directory available at various locations throughout the state.

“Finding a farm selling your favorite foods is as easy as clicking, swiping or turning a page,” Kee said.


The Milton Farmers’ Market started its season on Friday. In its fifth year, the market continues to gain popularity, according to Judy Shandler, spokeswoman.

“When we first started, the area was, no pun intended, very hungry for this kind of venue,” Shandler said. “There’s something very appealing in knowing the produce is coming directly from the farmer’s field. Also, there’s a social aspect. The farmers’ market is a gathering place for the community.”

The Milton Farmers’ Market will host about 30 vendors this year, with a few new names added to the roster, like Stag Run Farm in Georgetown, Jubilee Back Forty Farm in Milton and the Rehoboth Dairy.

The market will continue to feature live music each week.

“The music is excellent and has grown exponentially,” Shandler said. “We’ve got musicians signed up for almost each week throughout the summer. These are local groups with a good following.”

The market will also continue to hold a special market each fourth Friday, featuring special vendors, wine tastings and cooking demonstrations.


Georgetown’s farmers’ market will kick off on May 14.

The Greater Georgetown Chamber of Commerce is in its fifth year sponsoring the market and in its third year holding the event at the Bedford Street Park, just next to the Georgetown Presbyterian Church.

For its first two years, the market was held at Sports at the Beach, which turned out to be a less than ideal location, according to Karen Duffield, executive director of the chamber.

Duffield said the location did not stimulate the beach traffic the chamber had hoped for and it also cut off the community, due to it being on the outskirts of town.

Now, she said, the farmers’ market has a home.

“We think we have one of the nicest venues for a farmers’ market in Sussex,” Duffield said. “It’s accessible, shady, big and wide open.”

Duffield said the market grows in popularity each year, as Georgetown finally embraces the concept of eating healthier, supporting local farmers and supporting the community.

“Our community is a little more rural and cost conscious,” she said. “But I think people are beginning to realize the value of purchasing local and eating fresh.”

The Georgetown Farmers’ Market will feature between 15 and 20 vendors this year, with some staggering in depending on their product and whether it’s ready to be sold.


Although it held one last year, Millsboro will not have a farmers’ market for the 2014 season.

“It’s a lot of work and right now we do not have a market master,” said Town Manager Faye Lingo. “We’ve decided to give it a break this year and see if we can revisit it next year.”

Last year, David Lomas, a board member for the Millsboro Downtown Partnership, ran the market, which was held Wednesdays in Cupola Park. However Lomas said he will not take on the task again this year.

“I ran the whole thing last year by myself and it was very tiring,” Lomas said. “I’m happy to have done it and I’m glad I did it, but I’m not going to do it again this year.”

Although there will be no farmers’ market, the Atkins Produce & Country Store on Railroad Avenue will be open by May 1. The hours will be 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days per week until Labor Day.