101 Best Farmers Markets in America for 2014

The Daily Meal ranks the best farmers markets in America in its second annual list

101 Best Farmers Markets in America for 2014
Flickr/Michigan-Municipal-League
Take a look to see how your favorite farmers market fared.

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By Haley Willard
Editor

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Whether shopping for meats and dairy at a local grocery store or buying produce at a street vendor, we don’t always know how fresh the food we’re buying really is, if it’s been sprayed with pesticides, or if it contains genetically modified ingredients. Unless a food is labeled, it’s nearly impossible to tell. And even then, labels can be misleading.

Click here to see the 101 Best Farmers Markets for 2014 (Slideshow)

As consumers who value health and the freshest ingredients, we want to be able to trust our suppliers in providing us with food that is healthy and also sustainable. We don’t want to worry about tainting ourselves and our families with poor-quality foods that could harm us in the long term.

That’s why we love our farmers markets. We rely on farmers and producers for fresh, locally grown and locally produced food that we buy at our community farmers markets. They provide us the best of the best-quality foods that are free of pesticides and genetically modified ingredients. And the best part is the food sold there is made by farmers and producers who love what they do and do it with a smile.

As more farmland is bulldozed and lost to urbanization, though, farmers markets are threatened, and we are at risk of losing our fresh, locally sourced food if local farmers can’t financially support their farms. To raise awareness of the loss of farmland and the threat it presents, the American Farmland Trust started the initiative I Love My Farmers Market Celebration to highlight the role that farmers play in our food system. Through the initiative, consumers can support their local farmers market by pledging to spend $10 at the next market, and the farmers markets with the most pledges are nationally recognized.

Farmers markets are a place where the community comes together to support each other and the sustainable practices farmers use to produce. Farmers are the backbones of our food supply, and we love meeting and getting to know the people who grow what we eat at our local farmers market.

Last year, The Daily Meal recognized the nation’s very best farmers markets in its list of the 101 Best Farmers Markets in America based on several criteria. There are plenty of qualities that we value in a good farmers market. Some important ones to consider are the quality and variety of products sold, how affordable products are, what kind of public endorsement and recognition the farmers market receives, where it’s located, and how often it’s open. We also value the atmosphere we experience at the market, how friendly and helpful the vendors are, and what kind of information is made available to us about the market and its vendors.

Since we love farmers markets so much, we wanted to know which were the best in the country. This year, we re-evaluated the list, adding a few new ones — including Dane County Farmers Market in Madison, Wis. and Alemany Farmers Market in San Francisco — that we may have overlooked and knocking off a few at the bottom of last year’s list (these include the Old Cheney Road Farmers Market in Lincoln, Neb., the Waverly Farmers Market in Waverly, N.C., the Greenfield Farmers Market in Greenfield, Mass., the Downtown Bradenton Farmers Market in Bradenton, Flo. and the Tuesday Farmers Market in Cheyenne, Wyoming). It was a close call, but we ranked the best farmers markets in each state based on three main criteria that we think are the most important qualities a farmers market should have: "What’s at the Market," "Street Credibility," and "When It’s Open."

"What’s at the Market" considers the quality, number, and variety of products sold at the market, and the availability of each vendor’s background information. Because our peers’ opinions are always important, "Street Credibility" looks at what people are saying about the market, what kind of fan base it has on Facebook, Twitter, and Yelp, and any awards or recognition it’s been given. And finally, "When It’s Open," takes into account how often the market is open weekly and year-round.

While ranking, we found out some very interesting facts about farmers markets around the country. For example, not only do many farmers markets on our list stay open all year long, but some, like Seattle’s Pike Place Farmers Market and Hawaii’s Hilo Farmers Market, are open 365 days a year. And did you know some of the best farmers markets are those that have been around for more than 100 years, including Pennsylvania’s Lancaster Central Market — which claims to be the county’s oldest continuously operating farmers market for more than 275 years. Another finding was that some states like Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Wyoming have a very small number of farmers markets. And other states, like New Jersey and Kentucky have plenty of farmers markets, but those markets didn’t come close to qualifying as the best of the best.

Take a look at the rankings to see how your favorite farmers market fared, and let us know if we missed any of your favorites.

#101 Saturday Farmers Market (Newport, Ore.)

From colorful fresh fruit like blueberries, cherries, and raspberries to made-to-order grilled cheese sandwiches, carved walking sticks, and jewelry made from beach glass and stones, the Saturday Farmers Market is the place you want to be on a Saturday in Newport.

Click here for more information about the market.

#100 City of Loveland Farmers Market (Loveland, Colo.)

With fresh produce, specialty meats and cheeses, freshly baked items, ready-to-eat food and drink, one-of-a-kind crafts, and weekly entertainment, there’s little that the City of Loveland Farmers Market doesn’t have. And every week to help those in need, the fresh produce that is not bought at the market is distributed to local food shelters and nonprofits.

Click here for more information about the market.

See more of the 101 Best Farmers Markets in America for 2014.

Haley Willard is The Daily Meal's assistant editor. Follow her on Twitter @haleywillrd.


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34 Comments

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Sorry your article is filled with people only wanting to complain. I think this study is fantastic. Kudos to you for seeking out positive stories and trying to highlight good work that's being done around the country to promote fresh healthy foods and community events.

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Sorry your article is filled with people only wanting to complain. I think this study is fantastic. Kudos to you for seeking out positive stories and trying to highlight good work that's being done around the country to promote fresh healthy foods and community events.

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How the heck do you miss Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia??? Long ranked one of the best in the country!!!

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The fact that you have Las Vegas's at #23 makes this list completely suspect. Vegas shouldn't be on this list at all. The Fresh52 market is an absolute joke.

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this list is a joke. the Soulard Farmer's market in St Louis blows the Edwardsville Farmer's market away- it's literally 10 times the size and has a LOT more variety

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So, once again, you ignored Detroit's Eastern Market, the LARGEST and OLDEST open-air market in the COUNTRY! How does that work?

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No shit! Nice list but totally incomplete without Eastern Market on here. Author was probably too afraid to come to the D.

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Trenton Farmers Market? (Makes note that The Daily Meal are idiots)...

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There is no such country 'America'. 'America' is the general name for three groups of countries in the western hemisphere - North America, Central America and South America. If you are referring to all three, the term 'Americas' is appropriate.

You're not that important. Grow up.

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What's the only country with the word America in it? Yep, that would be The United States of America. Unless the writer specifies they are talking about a region (Central America) or continent (North and South America), it is understood that you are talking about a country, thus the use of America is short for The United States of America since it is the only country with the word America in it.

That is how people communicate. When people talk about where they are from with people from around the world we do not talk about regions unless they talk about a local region in which they live. Nor do people talk about the continent they are from, but rather the country.

America is not an inappropriate term unless you can't think for yourself and just want to complain.

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There is only one country with the word "America" in it's name - that is The United States of America. When talking/writing about locations most people don't generally talk about regions (Central America) or continents (North & South America) unless they specify that they are talking about a region or continent. They talk about countries, thus if you say/write America you are are talking about The United States of America. It has nothing to with feeling important but communicating with others.

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It sure is funny that Minneapolis and St.Paul have more spots on this list than the whole state of California who produces more produce than any other state. This list is horrible and extreamly bias. It is good to know that Minneapolis has such a long growing season to have 5 spots on this list.

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How could you miss the Reading Terminal Market in Center City Philadelphia. It's been there since 1893. Over 100 vendors and every stall is filled. To quote from the Market's website: "Locally grown and exotic produce. Amish specialties. Fresh meats, seafood, and poultry. Handmade confections and baked goods straight from the oven. Everything you need to create a memorable meal, from cookbooks, to table linens, to kitchen ware, to fresh cut flowers, and more. Plus the widest variety of restaurants under one roof. Find it all here at Philadelphia’s historic public market, Reading Terminal Market!"

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So you admit that "The Dane County Farmers Market is the largest producer-only farmers market in the country" yet you just added it this year (been going on since the 70's) and put it at 91?! Open year round rain or shine, hundreds of vendors, thousands of visitors every Saturday around our beautiful capitol building, and it accepts EBT...probably need to rethink this list.

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How could the Santa Monica Farmer's Market and the Hollywood Farmer's Market be left out? Two of the oldest and largest markets in the Los Angeles Metropolitan area. Vendors come from as far away as the Central Valley. Tons of organic produce. Grass-fed beef, etc and fresh seafood. These probably put many of the markets in your list to shame!

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How could you leave out the Santa Monica Farmer's Market in Santa Monica CA or the Hollywood Farmer's Market in Hollywood, CA??? Two of the oldest and largest Farmer's Market in the Los Angeles area with an emphasis on organic produce. Vendors come from as far away as the Central Valley with amazing stuff.

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We have a really great one in Wichita KS!!!!!

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I think this list may not be what I would have made.

First, in Seattle, the Pike Place Market is kinda like Disneyland for tourists. Although, it is a "working" farmers market, you can't find much organic produce (though, they setup some stands on some days outside the building). Anyways, better yet is the farmers market in Ballard. Another one is near UW in the University district. I think those two are better than Pike Place for "real" farmers market stuff. Though, I loved Pike Place...

In the San Francisco area, the Ferry Building is expensive. It is a great market, though. I would have to say for a better market, you'd have to go to the Civic Center in San Rafael for a cheaper and probably better farmer's market.

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Where is the Davis, California Farmers Market? There are no less than half a dozen California markets on this list that are unquestionably inferior to the Davis Farmers Market. I have doubts about the legitimacy of this list.

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wtf, this is crap! i know for a fact that the Dallas and San Antonio Farmers Markets are HUGE, we're talking blocks and blocks but they are NOT mentioned or even in the top 10? BS!!! whoever wrote this obviously didn't do their homework. Stupid!

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SO WHERE IS THE LIST? I'VE CLICKED ON SIX LINKS AND CAN'T FIND IT. WHAT A CRAPPY SITE. AND TO COMMENT, YOU HAVE TO WATCH AN AD. MORE CRAP.

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Find A Farmers Market Near You - <a href="http://hoodfarm.com" title="http://hoodfarm.com">http://hoodfarm.com</a>

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Newport, OR, which may have 15 booths is on the list but not Portland, OR, Saturday Farmers Market at PSU? It's one of the largest in the country and has been consistently ranked near the top of most other lists but it doesn't register in the top 101 here? This is either intentional exclusion because it does get so much press elsewhere or a complete lack of research on your part. This list has no credibility whatsoever.

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Don't understand how the Oshkosh, WI farmer's market ranked higher than the Dane County farmer's market in Madison, WI...nothing in WI even comes close to the Saturday morning market in Madison...

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how on earth did you leave off the largest and oldest farmers market in the US? Detroits eastern market. This list is a joke without it.

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Soulard Farmers Market is less than 1 mile from downtown St. Louis and has been open for 200 years. Didn't even make the list

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Soulard Market has been open for roughly 200 years. It is about a mile from downtown St. Louis and it didn't even make the list. Perhaps who ever compiled this list should travel more.

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It would be nice to know more about the metrics. The article claims that the rating is based in part on the range of products available, location, public endorsements, and when it is open. If this is true, it is VERY hard to understand how the Dane County Farmers Market in Madison, WI could come in at #92. It is the largest producer-only market in the country, it is located on the capital square (the absolute center of the city), is open year round, and is one of the tops attendance draws both for locals and tourists in Madison. This undercuts the credibility of the rankings (and quite frankly makes me wonder if the authors have bothered to visit the markets they are writing about). How disappointing!

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xxx

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I am not sure how reliable the list could be when it includes Vancouver, WA and not Portland or Beaverton OR. I don't even live out there, but those are 2 of the top Farmer's Markets in the country. What up?

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