RICHMOND—Apples, cucumbers, eggplant, beans, herbs, peaches, peppers, squash, sweet corn, tomatoes and watermelons are all in abundance right now. And so are farmers’ markets. There are currently 190 such Virginia markets selling fresh, local produce direct from the farm to consumers. According to the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the number of farmers’ markets in the commonwealth is growing steadily. Nationally, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported in its National Farmers Market Directory that there are 6,132 farmers’ markets in operation, 16 percent more than last year. In Virginia, the number of markets has increased 115 percent over the past six years. 'People have begun thinking about where their food comes from, and they’ve decided that supporting a local economy is preferable to relying on food imported from far away,' said Spencer Neale, a commodity marketing specialist for the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. 'Farmers’ markets are a great way for consumers to help keep our food supply local. 'Besides that, consumers can actually get to know the farmers growing their food and enjoy some seasonal, delicious produce, fruits, vegetables and even seafood.' To locate the market nearest you, visit SaveOurFood.org and click on the Fresh Food Locator in the 'Get Involved' section. 'People thought farmers’ markets would just be a passing trend, but the numbers reported by the USDA and VDACS prove that their popularity just continues to increase,' Neale said. Contact Neale at 804-290-1153.