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USDA: Farmers Markets Thrive on Higher Demand for Local Produce

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Growing demand for locally grown fruits and vegetables has resulted in a big jump in the number of farmers markets. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the number of farmers markets increased nearly 10 percent this year to more than 7800 across the country.

The increase is no surprise to farmer Jeff Bialas who has been selling his produce at a Manhattan farmers market for 20 years.

“People are understanding that it's better to eat local,” he said. “The quality of the food is better and you're supporting your neighbors.”

California and New York have the most markets, followed by Massachusetts. The USDA says it noticed significant increases over the last year in the mid-Atlantic and Southeast.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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