August 6-12 is National Farmers Market Week, and the sunny days of summer make it a perfect time to drop by one of the more than 8,500 farmers markets across the country and load up for a picnic! While you put together your picnic shopping list, keep in mind that growers selling locally not only help increase access to fresh food, but they also create 13 full-time jobs for every $1 million in revenue earned.
Here’s a few interesting facts on some of the food found at farmers markets that help make your picnic complete:
In 2016, U.S. potato production totaled an estimated 441 million cwt (also known as hundredweight, equal to 100 pounds). Last year Idaho had a record potato yield at 430cwt per acre, producing the most potatoes for a total of 139 million cwt. Be sure to keep your potato salad cool to avoid the mayonnaise spoiling and potentially making you ill.
Watermelon, cherries and blueberries make a deliciously refreshing picnic treat (toss with some fresh lime juice and mint for an added layer of flavor). Oregon produced a record-breaking 117 million pounds of blueberries in 2016, retaining its no.2 ranking in the position since 2013, and the highest yield per acre in the nation at 9,760 pounds. United States sweet cherry production is forecasted at 432,760 tons, up 36 percent from 2016. Washington produces the most sweet cherries. Florida produces the most watermelon at 19 percent of the nation’s production, with Texas and California following at 18 and 17 percent, respectively.
Fried (or grilled) chicken is a picnic classic! The total number of broiler chickens (chickens raised for meat) produced in the United States in 2016 was 8.78 billion. That year, Georgia produced the largest number of broilers at 1.37 billion.
Last but certainly not least, who can forget the deviled egg? More than 101.9 billion eggs were produced in the United States in 2016. Thank goodness there is more than one way to make these scrumptious side items! You can even add egg to your potato salad with a little celery and onion.
Whatever your picnic menu includes this summer, be sure and appreciate the work of the American growers who make it possible.