Four Farmers Markets forever stamps will be issued Aug. 7 in Washington, D.C., and will be placed on sale nationwide the same day.
The four stamps show different fruits, vegetables and fresh foods, along with plants and flowers, grouped together within shallow wooden trays and identified by signs displaying various prices.
The issue date coincides with National Farmers Market Week, celebrated by the United States Department of Agriculture during the first week in August.
The new stamps will be sold in a pane of 20.
The individual stamps are a special size, similar to the size of most U.S. holiday stamp issues.
The initial print run by U.S. Postal Service contract printer Ashton Potter will be 100 million stamps.
The offset-printed stamps reproduce a single large illustration, separated into the four stamps, by artist Robin Moline of Minnesota. Greg Breeding served as the USPS art director for the project.
The first stamp on the left depicts baguettes in a basket, along with buns, cinnamon rolls, breads, cookies, eggs and artisan cheese.
The second stamp has labels for apples, peppers, grapes and potatoes.
Eggplant, gourds, broccoli, tomatoes and watermelon are also shown.
Sunflowers in a basket are featured on the third stamp, along with signs for flowers, flower bouquets and celosia.
The last stamp focuses on potted plants. Signs promote the sale of chives, tomato plants, nasturtium, herbs and marigolds.
A 10:30 a.m. ceremony is planned at the Freshfarm Market by the White House, in the 800 block of Vermont Avenue between H Street and I Street.
The stamps also will be offered in press sheets, both with and without the die cuts that normally separate individual stamps. Each press sheet consists of five panes and sells for $49. The quantities available are 1,000 sheets with die cuts, and 1,500 without die cuts, according to the Postal Service.
The popularity of farmers markets continues to increase in the United States.
The United States Department of Agriculture publishes an online directory of markets, with more than 8,000 listed. In 1994, the directory listed 1,755 markets.
The USDA attributes the popularity to a “growing consumer interest in obtaining fresh products directly from the farm.”
The Postal Service said: “Considered by many to be the new town square, farmers markets offer, as they did in the past, a gathering place for diverse groups of neighbors to meet and mingle and to share news, recipes, and stories — in short, to create a new sense of community.”
Technical details and first-day cancel ordering information for the Farmers Markets forever stamps are provided below.
Nondenominated (49¢) Farmers Markets forever stamps
FIRST DAY— Aug. 7, 2014; city— Washington, D.C., and nationwide.
DESIGN: artist— Robin Moline, Lakeland, Minn.; designer, art director and typographer— Greg Breeding, Charlottesville, Va.; modeler— Joseph Sheeran.
PRINTING: process— offset; printer and processor— Ashton Potter USA Ltd., Williamsville, N.Y.; press— Mueller Martini A76; inks— black, cyan, magenta, yellow; paper— nonphosphored type III, block tagging; gum— self-adhesive; issue quantity— 100 million stamps; format— pane of 20, from 300-subject cylinders; size— 0.77 inches by 1.11 inches (image); 0.91 inches by 1.19 inches (overall); 4.75 inches by 8.25 inches (full pane); plate numbers— “P” followed by four single digits; marginal markings— header “Farmers Markets,” plate number (stamp side); “©2014 USPS,” plate position diagram, USPS logo, bar code, descriptive text, promotional text; USPS item No.— 472504.
First-day cancel ordering information
Collectors requesting first-day cancels are encouraged to purchase their own stamps and affix them to envelopes. The first-day cover envelopes should be addressed for return (a removable label may be used), and mailed in a larger envelope addressed to Farmers Markets Stamps, Special Events, Box 92282, Washington, DC 20090-2282. Requests for first-day cancels must be postmarked by Oct. 6.
The Postal Service’s uncacheted first-day cover for the Farmers Markets stamps is USPS item No. 472516 at $3.72.