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April showers promise abundance at farmers markets and farm stands in Delaware

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The start of spring means the return of farmers markets and roadside stands across the state.

This week's frequent April showers promise a bountiful farmers market season.

According to Mikayla Paul of the Delaware Farm Bureau, most community-run farmers' markets in Delaware open in May – and farmers who sell their products at these locations use this time of year to gauge temperatures and rainfall for planting.

“Some of them trying to plant early are noticing a delay due to the rain, but they also said the ground was too cold in the morning, so we probably won't see them in their fields until later this month.” A Lot have been doing it since April, even as early as March – many of them have started to return to their fields and start the base.”

The First State's 17 community-operated farmers markets had another record year in 2023, with sales of $4.14 million, up more than $400,000 from 2022.

In addition to fruits and vegetables, flowers, eggs, honey and locally roasted coffee are popular at the community-run markets.

Paul expects First State farmers will likely expand their offerings by opening more roadside stands and exploring new marketing approaches.

“Many farmers have started offering more agritourism activities on their farms in the hope of attracting more consumers there and shopping at their farmers’ stalls and markets. So I’m seeing an uptick and I’m seeing more and more farmers getting involved and I think that’s great because it gives consumers a lot more options out there.”

Paul says some farmers say they are facing a problem this spring. Early planting farmers report a delay due to persistent rain, but many have started groundwork to prepare fields.