Rising farmers market prices don’t dampen demand

| Print |  Email
Archives - June 2008
Sunday, June 01, 2008

farmersmarket.jpg

STATEWIDE At the Saturday Portland Farmers Market, one of the largest on the West Coast and one of the first to open each year, feed prices have pushed the cost of eggs to almost $6 a dozen, up from $4.50 last year, and many other prices have nudged higher.

But that didn’t keep the attendance at the April 12 market at Portland State University from reaching 13,000 people, equal to the summer peak figure last year.

Whether it’s fuel-conscious consumers staying close to home or shoppers seeing farmers markets as an affordable luxury, as the season opens during an economic downturn, enthusiasm for local markets appears to outweigh concern over the higher food prices.

Farmers market expert Larry Lev, an Oregon State University professor, says he surveyed the Hillsdale winter market in March and asked what people were spending vs. 2005. In 2005, the average was $19.50 and this year it was $31.

“They were coming prepared to buy increased quantities,” he says. “There is more serious shopping going on. It’s gotten past the phase of coming just to drink a latte and buy a few tomatoes.”

The same holds true for community supported agriculture (CSA) farms, which offer produce subscriptions. At Sauvie Island Organics, the cost of a produce box is $845 for 29 weeks; last year it was $790. At Gathering Together Farms in Philomath a produce box is $500 for 22 weeks this year versus $450 last year. Increased fuel cost was cited by both farms as the reason for the increase.

Despite this, Shari Raider, who owns Sauvie Island Organics, says demand has increased despite the rising prices. She says she’s put two more acres into production this year and the number of community shares (subscriptions) has risen to 250 this year from 200. And there’s a waiting list.

“All the CSAs have waiting lists, and all have raised prices,” Raider says. She thinks it’s because consumers have decided to use their dollars to support the local economy — along with getting fresh, nutritious food — even though they have to pay more.

Lev will be watching how markets thrive as they begin to widely open around the state this month during the downturn. He predicts existing markets will do well, but new vendors might be reluctant to take on new markets because high fuel costs and tight labor availability might make it hard to fulfill commitments.

“Farmers markets have found their niche in people’s lives,” says Lev. “In one sense it is more expensive than going to Safeway, but in another sense, people can afford it.”                            

ROBIN DOUSSARD

 

More Articles

Biker dreams

The Latest
Friday, May 15, 2015
bike at ater wynn-thumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is seeking input from businesses on a $5.5 million initiative to create a network of biking, transit and pedestrian trails within Portland’s central city.


Read more...

Photo Log: The 2015 100 Best Green Workplaces in Oregon

The Latest
Wednesday, May 27, 2015
greenthumbPHOTOS BY JASON E. KAPLAN

Oregon Business celebrated the 100 Best Green Workplaces with an awards luncheon yesterday at the Nines Hotel in downtown Portland.


Read more...

Sun set

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY CHRIS NOBLE

The right sunglasses can protect your eyes and look cool at the same time. This being the 21st century, select shades are socially conscious, too. Portland brand Shwood uses wood and other natural materials and manufactures locally. Founded by Ann Sacks, the brand Fetch dedicates a portion of its profits to animal welfare. But whether you choose classic tortiseshell or aviator chic, please, shed the sunglasses when you walk in the door — and, of course, at night. 


Read more...

Up in the Air

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY ANNIE ELLISON

Portland tech veteran Ben Berry is leaving his post as Portland’s chief technology officer for a full-time role producing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) aimed at first responders and the military. Berry’s AirShip Technologies Group is poised to be on the ground floor of an industry that will supply drones to as many as 100,000 police, fire and emergency agencies nationwide. He reveals the plan for takeoff.


Read more...

Queen of Resilience

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Astrid Scholz scales up sustainability.


Read more...

Photo Diary: Forest Grove Farmers Market

The Latest
Thursday, May 14, 2015
IMG 8469BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

There are more than 160 farmers markets in Oregon, contributing an estimated $50 million in sales, according to the Oregon Farmers Markets Association. We checked in on the Forest Grove market, which for several years has brought local produce and food vendors to Main Street in the center of town.


Read more...

The 5 highest revenue-generating parks in Oregon

The Latest
Thursday, June 11, 2015
parksthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

In 2014, total revenue for camping and day use in Oregon State Parks was a little more than $17 million. That figure may even higher this year "because we've had exceptionally nice weather," Hughes says.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS