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King County farmers markets rally from 2022 pandemic lows

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(The Center Square) – A recent report on King County’s farmers markets sector shows a positive bounce back in 2022 from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Throughout all King County farmers markets in 2022, a total of $34.4 million was spent through all vendors, a 25% increase from $27.5 million in 2021, according to the report.

Out of the $34.4 million spent last year, $19.8 million was spent at farm vendors, which was nearly $1 million more in sales than in 2019. This comes despite having less farm vendors in 2022 than in 2019.

King County farmers markets in 2019 included 2,120 vendors, with 850 of which were farm vendors. That declined to 1,236 during the pandemic. Last year there were 2,053 total vendors and 758 farm vendors. There were 850 farm vendors reported at King County farmers markets in 2019.

Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance Executive Director Jennifer Antos notes that these statistics show that non-farm vendors have recovered more quickly than farm businesses.

“The high-level data suggests that sales by farms are not increasing at the same rate as, say, a bakery or prepared food business,” Antos said in a statement. “It’s not as simple as a side-by-side trajectory or comparison though, especially when looking at data that is summarized on a county level.”

Seattle alone collected a total of approximately $24 million in sales in 2022 from its 14 farmers markets and 726 vendors. Farm vendors made up 60% of the total sales. This does not include the city’s tourist hotspot, Pike Place Market, as the market’s day stalls are classified as a public market rather than a farmers market.

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