WASHINGTON, June 7, 2013 – Despite the steady downpour in the nation’s capital today, USDA’s annual Farmers Market opened unabated, with (indoor) remarks from department officials and local celebrities rounding out the festivities.

“Farmers markets across the nation are helping to meet growing consumer demand for fresh, healthy, local food,” Acting Deputy Secretary Michael Scuse said before ringing the bell to open the market. “At the same time, they’re providing farmers with additional sources of income.”

Scuse praised farmers markets for allowing farmers to interact with consumers face-to-face – a rare opportunity in production agriculture.

Anne Alonzo, the Agricultural Marketing Service administrator, touted the $32 million her agency has invested in farmers markets since 2006.

“This market represents just another part of our community that makes DC such a vibrant place to live, work and visit,” she said.

Both officials said the number of farmers markets in the United States has ballooned to 7,800 – a 300 percent increase since USDA first opened its Farmers Market 18 years ago.

The event also included appearances by Washington Redskins player Reed Doughty, Forest Service mascot Smokey Bear, FSIS mascot Thermy and the USDA Dairy Cow.


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