There's an article quoting a USDA announcement that farmers markets have increased 214% since 2000, and have increased 16% since just last year! There are now 6,132 farmers markets across the country and Illinois has 286 of them, ranking third after California (580) and New York (461), and just ahead of Michigan (271). Missouri, Minnesota, Idaho, and Michigan have had the greatest percentage increase in farmers markets in the past year, so there's obviously a growing (hah!) interest in buying (hopefully locally grown) produce outside of stores.
I haven't been to the Uptown Trailside Farmers Market yet this year (due to the brutal heat in the late afternoon) but I have been buying produce at the new farmers market on College Ave. on Saturday mornings. I think more and more people have discovered that event and I'm hoping that it continues next summer because it's very convenient, both in location and time of day (starts at 7:30 a.m.).