Peter Merholz writes that between 1994 and 2011, the number of farmers markets across the United States grew from 1,755 to 7,175.
While much of this growth is likely due to a broader understanding of
the importance of eating local, fresher, and seasonal, he also suspect
that it is driven by a desire of many people to shop differently — in
pleasant family-friendly contexts that enable low-key, face-to-face
interactions with merchants.
A parallel trend is the rise of the food truck movement.
In research they conducted earlier this year on the future of commerce, they found that people gravitate towards these kinds of "pop-up" vendor
experiences because of the more personal qualities they provide —
getting to know the vendor, suggestions for making the most of a
purchase, or even just a certain quirkiness. In other words, these are
fundamentally more human retail experiences.