Delaware Farmers’ Markets Continue to Grow in Popularity

Governor Carney declares Delaware Agriculture Week January 13 through January 17, 2020

DOVER, Del. – Governor John Carney and the Delaware Department of Agriculture on Thursday announced Delaware farmers’ markets hit an all-time high sales record of $3.28 million in 2019. The announcement comes during the 15th Annual Delaware Agriculture Week held at the State Fairgrounds in Harrington, a week-long conference that covers agricultural operations in Delaware and provides critical updates, research, and training for members of the industry. Governor Carney issued a proclamation declaring the week of January 13 to January 17,  2020 as “Delaware Agriculture Week.”

Click here to view the proclamation.

“Delaware has a rich farming history, and agriculture remains our number one industry. It’s no surprise Delaware’s farmers markets continue to gain popularity with Delawareans and visitors to the state who want to purchase local, Delaware grown foods and farm-fresh products from family farms,” said Governor Carney. “Agriculture contributes $8 billion to Delaware’s economy, and we’ve permanently preserved 25 percent of Delaware’s farmland so that agriculture will continue to be the backbone of our economy.”

Delaware’s Secretary of Agriculture Michael T. Scuse said in a time when ordering groceries using an app and picking up curbside is popular, these figures are indicative of how much people value the connection with the farmers growing their food.

“Looking at 2019, the weather was cooperative, and our farmers had a lot of great produce to sell at our local farmers’ markets,” said Scuse. “Delaware produce is seasonal and changes from month to month, week to week. The variety of Delaware grown fruits, vegetables, herbs and other items provides a lot of options for consumers who want to eat healthy.”

Sales from all 19 Delaware community-run farmers’ markets this year totaled $3,277,788, up more than $394,086 from 2018 – an increase of 13.7 percent. Sales have increased more than elevenfold since the Department of Agriculture began tracking them in 2007.

Fresh produce made up 57 percent of total sales, with the remainder coming from products such as meats, cheeses, jellies, breads, salsa, eggs, or honey.

In 2019, there were 14 markets that participated in the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program and the Women, Infants, and Children Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. Both programs had their highest participation since Delaware began offering these benefits. There were 9 markets that participated in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). These programs help expand access for low-income residents to be able to purchase fresh local produce at Delaware farmers’ markets. 

Delaware farmers’ markets are all run at the local level, by municipalities, business groups, farmers or market associations, with the Department of Agriculture providing support and marketing assistance.

The 2020 market season will begin in April; most markets start their operations in May, June, and July. A list of the 2019 markets is online at Delaware Grown, and will be updated in late March for 2020.


“Taste of Summer” Lunch


DOVER – Fresh fruits and vegetables are plentiful during the warm summer months, but finding quick and easy recipes can be challenging. The state of Delaware invites people to “sample summer” and receive fun and easy recipes at a special lunch prepared by The Hospitality School, a nonprofit organization that trains adults who are unemployed and in temporary jobs in the culinary arts and hospitality, and assists in job placement.

Tickets are now available for the July 16 “Taste of Summer” Sampling Lunch at The lunch, featuring fresh local produce, is at the Delaware Health and Social Services (DHSS) café located at 1901 N. Dupont Hwy., New Castle, DE 19720. It is open to the public.

Between 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., attendees can choose from any of the six sampling stations, a full salad bar, homemade breads and muffins, and fruit-infused water. The culinary students’ menu includes these mouth-watering recipes:
• Sweet corn and zucchini fritters
• Stir fry vegetables with Basmati rice
• Turkey Florentine stuffed cabbage rolls
• Zucchini lasagna
• Seasoned green beans with red potatoes
• Pasta primavera

Dine in, at outdoor picnic tables, or take out. Tickets are $8.00 if ordered by July 9. To order, visit Tickets are $10.00 at the door. Proceeds benefit the Planting Hope Urban Farm on the DHSS Campus.

Most of the produce used for the lunch will be harvested from the Planting Hope Urban Farm and other local farms. Recipes of the prepared meals will be shared and the DHSS Farmers’ Market will be open.

The “Taste of Summer” Sampling Lunch is sponsored by the Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA), the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH), and The Hospitality School.

“By consuming at least five fruits and vegetables daily, Delawareans can reduce their risk of preventable disease such as diabetes and cancer, ” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “Diets high in fruits and vegetables also provide our bodies with essential nutrients and help achieve healthy weights. But sometimes, it can be hard to know what fresh foods can be prepared quickly and easily. The ‘Taste of Summer’ lunch is a perfect way to eat a tasty lunch and pick up some new recipes.”

“We’ll show you how easy it is to make delicious, affordable, and nutritious meals with local produce,” said Faith B. Kuehn, DDA Plant Industries Administrator and Planting Hope project manager. “Fresh fruits and vegetables are readily available from Delaware farmers’ markets and roadside stands, as well as from household and community gardens.” A complete list of First State markets and farm stands is available at the Delaware Buy Local Guide,

For more information about the “Taste of Summer” Sampling Lunch, call Faith Kuehn at DDA at 302-698-4587.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind, or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, drink almost no sugary beverages.

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498

Delaware Health and Social ServicesDivision of Public Health

Delaware farm stands, markets opening for season

DOVER — With farm stands opening their doors and farmers’ market seasons kicking off this month, it’s now easier than ever for Delawareans to buy their farm-fresh items directly from growers.

“Delaware is looking forward to another great growing season,” said Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee. “Whether you buy local from a farmers’ market vendor or a roadside stand, you can get the best and freshest produce right here in Delaware.”

Shoppers can easily and quickly find local sources of fresh produce, meat, eggs and other agricultural products by using several new resources:

>> The new Buy Local Guide, at, featuring lists of farmers’ markets, farm stands, creameries, equine operations and more.

>> The revamped Delaware Fresh app for mobile devices, now offering a search function to help users find products faster.

>> A new edition of the printed Delaware Ag Directory, available at locations around the state.

“Finding a farm selling your favorite foods is as easy as clicking, swiping or turning a page,” Kee said. “Getting to know your local farmers also helps create connections between neighbors, and fosters more awareness of agriculture’s important role in Delaware’s economy.”

The farmers’ market season this year features 27 community-run markets, with the Milton Farmers’ Market opening the season on Friday, April 18. The 2013 season set a record, with $2.1 million in sales. Six markets are accepting the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card system, allowing families to purchase local produce and food items as part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

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Dan Shortridge
Chief of Community Relations
Delaware Department of Agriculture

Find a locally-grown Christmas tree from a Delaware farmer

DOVER — More than 30 Delaware farmers have Christmas trees available for First State merrymakers this holiday season, with firs, spruces and pines in abundance – and easy to find and buy with the Delaware Fresh mobile app. The app and a related website,, feature locations, hours and other shopping information.

“It’s great family fun to pick out just the right locally-grown tree for your house,” said Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee. “Buying from a Delaware farm is a guarantee to get the freshest tree and support our local tree farmers at the same time.”

Growing Christmas trees is a specialized business in Delaware, with growers selecting particular varieties for attractiveness or other features. It typically takes seven to 10 years to grow a thriving 7-foot-tall First State Christmas tree. This is the busiest time of year for Delaware’s Christmas tree farmers, Kee said, but they work year-round to care for their trees.

The Delaware Fresh app is available free for download on Android, iPhone and Windows 8 phone platforms at

To pick the right tree, examine it carefully, looking out for these details:

>> The shape and size of a tree will depend on where you plan to place it and the height of the ceiling in your home. Some people want a more slender tree like a fir, while others like a larger, fuller tree like a spruce, and still others prefer a fuller, bushier tree like a pine.

>> Although most people prefer a well-rounded and shapely tree, you may find it more practical and economical to buy one that is somewhat flat or sparsely branched in one side, so that it fits into a corner or against a wall.

>> While “choose-and-cut” purchasers gain in popularity, families that buy their trees from retail lots can also check for freshness. They can test cut trees by bending needles to check resilience (if it springs back into position, the tree is fresh); bumping the base of the tree on the ground (if the needles don’t fall, the tree is fresh); and feeling the bottom of the trunk (if sappy and moist, the tree is fresh).

When the tree is home, families still need to care for it to make it stay fresh throughout the season:

>> Keep a cut tree in a cool, shaded area, sheltered from wind, with the trunk in a bucket of water until you are ready for set up.

>> Just before putting a cut tree into its stand, cut an inch or two off the butt end. This fresh cut will allow the tree to more readily take up water once it is moved inside.

>> Fresh trees take up water at a very fast rate. You should check the water level two hours after setting up the tree. Then, check the water level at least once daily to see that it is above the bottom of the tree’s trunk. It is not uncommon for trees to take up a quart or more of water daily.

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Dan Shortridge
Chief of Community Relations
Delaware Department of Agriculture