HARRISBURG, Pa. — Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding was joined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) and Penn State Extension at Strites’ Orchard in Dauphin County today to highlight new data recognizing Pennsylvania as a national leader in direct-to-consumer sales.
According to new survey data recently released from USDA-NASS in late April, 6,200 Pennsylvania farms are reported to produce and sell food locally through direct marketing. Direct-to-consumer marketing and sales strengthens local food systems and generated $600 million in revenue in 2020. Pennsylvania ranks second in the nation, only behind California, in direct-to-consumer sales.
“Pennsylvania is proud of the dedicated farmers across the commonwealth who have grown their operations to serve the needs of their communities,” said Redding. “Agriculture is urban and rural. We have seen the growth of direct-to-consumer sales in every corner of the commonwealth through on-farm markets, farm stands, and farmers markets. It is a localized approach that is strengthening food systems, growing food security, and bolstering the economy.
“People have also become intimately more aware of where their food comes from,” said Redding. “Direct-to-consumer sales foster a connection both to food and the farmers who grow it, creating meaningful relationships and experiences that will advance Pennsylvania agriculture for generations to come.”
Many on-farm markets and farmers market vendors are members of the PA Preferred® program or carry PA Preferred products. PA Preferred is the statewide branding program for agricultural products grown, produced, and processed in Pennsylvania. When purchasing items with the PA Preferred checkmark, consumers are supporting locally grown and processed Pennsylvania agricultural products and directly supporting Pennsylvania farmers. Strites’ Orchard recently joined the PA Preferred program and is one of 745 PA Preferred members across of the commonwealth.
For more information about PA Preferred, including how to become a member, visit agriculture.pa.gov.
–Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture