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Local Farmers Nurture Growing Client Base - Business Journal

While the industry is not without challenges, overall, times are good for small, local farmers.

About 10 years ago demand for fresh fruits and vegetables started to grow, and it’s shown no signs of stopping, reported several farmers at the July Youngstown Farmers Market at the B&O Station.

“It’s picked up in the last three years. Hoping it continues,” said David Huffman, of Huffman Fruit Farm in Salem.

“It’s wonderful and we’re selling like crazy,” said Patty Brungard, owner of Brungard Farm Market in New Middletown.

Brungard, who has been farming since the 1980s, sells most of her products at her farm. She used to rely on word-of-mouth advertising to reach new clients, but that’s changed thanks to social media, which has “been a big help,” she said. The growing number of Farmers Markets also makes it easier.

“Even if you run out of something, you give them a card and they know where you’re located and they come out to the market,” she said.

While there is demand for fresh fruits and vegetables, the cost remains a hurdle for many in the region.

Through community outreach initiatives, the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation learned the No. 1 reason area residents don’t purchase healthful food is because it’s too expensive, said Tom Hetrick, who manages the Youngstown Farmers Market.

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