The Tower Grove Farmers Market in St. Louis has turned into an incubator and economic driver for the surrounding area, drawing thousands of people every Saturday and spinning off at least four bricks-and-mortar businesses, with more, potentially, on the way.
“The farmers market is a low-risk way to test a product, and you don’t have to commit too much,” said Patrick Horine, who launched the market and owns nearby Local Harvest Grocery and Local Harvest Cafe.
The number of farmers markets has nearly tripled over the last decade. In the process, more small-scale produce growers, buoyed by demand for locally grown produce, have gotten into farming. But the markets themselves don’t just bring farmers into a newly sustainable business. These markets, often in urban areas, bring jobs and have economic impact beyond fruits and vegetables.