About Vermont Farmers' Markets
The markets in Vermont are as diverse as our landscape, selling agricultural products like fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, cheese, eggs and maple syrup and often offering baked goods, prepared foods, and arts and crafts. The markets' seasonality means market customers can always look forward to new products as spring turns to summer and then to fall. The market season in Vermont starts as early as May and sometimes as late as July, depending on location. October brings the end to most market seasons; however, more and more markets are adding winter seasons in addition to special holiday markets around the Thanksgiving and Christmas season.
Some markets consist of as few as two vendors setting up on a town green, to over sixty vendors dominating a downtown marketplace. Seasonal sales vary accordingly from $5,000 to $1 million. Markets can be formal, taxpaying organizations with employees, budgets, and websites. Some markets in the state are volunteer-run, with little money but a lot of enthusiasm. Farmers markets’ encompass all Vermont has to offer and they continue to spread. In 1986, there were only 19 farmers markets in Vermont, while today over 75 markets flourish throughout the state!
In a 2008 study completed by NOFA-VT, total gross sales for the markets that responded in 2008 (75%) were $5,660,220 with average sales of $117,921. During this time period the largest markets (Norwich, Burlington, Brattleboro and Montpelier), have been experiencing an increase in gross sales of 14-20% a year. The greatest contributor to a market's gross sales are the sale of agricultural products (accounting for approximately 50% of gross), followed by prepared foods and craft sales. The number of total markets has grown every year, as have the average numbers of vendors at each market.