Home Back Issues May 2010 Farmers markets draw different customers

Farmers markets draw different customers

| Print |  Email
Articles - May 2010
Friday, April 16, 2010

Farmers-MarketFarmers market managers say that while the growing season is just beginning to blossom, a wider variety of shoppers are popping up in local markets and vendors are adapting to changing customer needs, including smaller paychecks.

“It’s actually been OK,” says Eamon Molloy, manager of the Hillsdale Farmers Market. “Like everyone else, we do feel the recession. But by and large, farmers, the ones who grow the basic things we eat, are doing fine.”

Alongside the foodies and local chefs, market managers saw an increasing number of people using farmers markets for their weekly shopping in 2009, including food stamp users. Managers think this will continue this year.

Ann Forsthoefel, executive director of the Portland Farmers Market, says the market’s opening day on March 20 had the highest token sales in the market’s history. Food stamp customers use their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program cards to purchase tokens to use in lieu of cash for their market purchases.

Last June Molloy noticed token purchases fell 40% in between pay periods, while customer counts remained solid. Customers continued shopping at the Hillsdale market, spending their money on fruit and vegetables instead of pastries and meat.

Some of the Hillsdale vendors scaled back their prepared food inventory in the middle of the month to absorb customers’ decreased purchases. Molloy thinks markets will see more of this during the height of the 2010 market season.

“We’re probably going to see a continued trend toward people buying less prepared food and learning to make their own,” he says.

Agricultural production decreased 14% from 2008 to 2009 according to Larry Lev, a marketing economist with Oregon State University’s Extension Services.

However, his research shows farmers market sales generally remained stable throughout the state, something he attributes to a committed customer base.

“Overall, most markets held their own,” he says, noting many markets saw gains in attendance if not in sales. “That’s good in a bad year.”

COLLEEN MORAN
 

More Articles

OB Poll: Wineries and groceries

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

24-winethumbA majority of respondents agreed: Local vineyards should remain Oregon-owned and quality is the most important factor when determining where to eat or buy groceries.


Read more...

Podcast: Turn Things Around with David Marquet

Contributed Blogs
Friday, October 17, 2014
davidmarquet thumbBY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER

How can you move from a command-and-control leadership model to one of true empowerment and accountability? David Marquet did, and he took notes along the way.


Read more...

Revenge Forestry

November/December 2014
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
BY JONATHAN FROCHTZWAJG

A flare-up in the Elliott Forest raises questions about détente in Oregon’s timber wars.


Read more...

What I'm Reading

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Peter Lizotte at ACME Business Solutions and Roger Busse at Pacific Continental Bank share their favorite reads.


Read more...

Downtime

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Bob Dethlefs, CEO of Evanta, balances work and play.


Read more...

Political Clout

November/December 2014
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
BY KIM MOORE

Businesses spend billions of dollars each year trying to influence political decision makers by piling money into campaigns.


Read more...

Gone Girl

News
Monday, September 29, 2014
roundup-logo-thumb-14BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Wehby disappears, Kitzhaber fails to disclose and Seattle gets bike share before Portland.


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