Popular Products: Columbia Farmers Market Sees Record Attendance | New

In 2021, Columbia Farmers Market had a banner year, despite COVID-19 pandemic conditions that hampered sales at many other retailers.

The outdoor site, which offers locally made produce, baked goods and many other items, had 132,895 customers in 2021 – the most customers in a single year, said Corrina Smith, executive director.

This attendance has increased by 95% compared to 2020.

The market received a $2,500 prize for being named the #1 “People’s Choice” last year in a nationwide competition celebrating America’s Farmer’s Market. It was also named the #1 Farmer’s Market in Missouri and the Midwest.

Overall, the market made over $3.3 million in sales last year.

“We’ve probably broken every record we have,” Smith said.

Marketplace sellers saw a 50% increase in sales compared to 2019.

The market also partners with many different programs to allow residents to shop. For example, the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — or SNAP — matched up to $35 per person in every market last year.

This year, the market will be offering up to $60 per person for SNAP in each market.

The market distributed $7,020 in funds for a produce prescription program that allows individuals to purchase produce and other nutritious foods at lower prices at participating farmers’ markets.

The Columbia Farmers Market also distributed $16,470 in Columbia Public School Food Stamps in 2021. The program provides food stamps to career center cooking students to purchase local produce.

“These programs make the market accessible to everyone in our community,” Smith said.

The market hopes to make this year even better by reaching even more people in the community than before.

People can visit the market from 8 a.m. to noon from April to October and from 9 a.m. to noon from November to March.

The market is also open from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays until September 14.

The Columbia Farmers Market will also celebrate National Farmer’s Market Week, August 7-13.

On August 13, the market will host a celebration. This will involve a statement from Mayor Barbara Buffaloe, a watermelon eating contest, zucchini car races for kids, giveaways and more.

James V. Payne