Has America’s obsession with farmer’s markets peaked?

May 25, 2015, 5:00 PM UTC
The End of Farmers' Market Fever

After decades of hypergrowth the proliferation of farmers’ markets in the U.S. appears to have finally plateaued. The number of markets in the USDA directory ticked up just 1.5% last year, to 8,268, after 19 years of 19% average annual growth. But that doesn’t mean the country’s $11.7 billion appetite for local food is abating. “There’s no question it’s a broader adoption,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack tells Fortune. Grocery stores, restaurants, and schools are buying more local food than ever, which means “more stable” sales for farmers, Vilsack says. Plus easier access for diners. The locavore is officially mainstream.

This story is from the June 1, 2015 issue of Fortune magazine.