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

Editor's Letter: Power Play

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014

There’s a fascinating article in the December issue of the Harvard Business Review about a profound power shift taking place in business and society. It’s a long read, but the gist revolves around the tension between “old power” and “new power” as a driver of transformation. Here’s an excerpt:

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

The authors, Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans, don’t necessarily favor one form of power over another but merely outline how power is transitioning, and how companies can take advantage of these changes to strengthen their positions in the marketplace. 

Our Powerbook issue might be viewed as a case study in the new-power transition. This annual book of lists provides information on leading businesses, nonprofits and universities in the state. Most of the featured companies are entrenched power players now pursuing more flexible and less hierarchical approaches to doing business. Law firms, for example, are adopting new technologies and fee structures to make legal services more accessible and affordable.

This month we also take a look at a controversial new U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rule requiring public companies to disclose the median pay of workers, as well as the ratio between CEO and median-worker pay. 

Part of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the rule will compel public companies to be more open about employee compensation, with the assumption that greater transparency will improve corporate performance and, perhaps, help address one of the major challenges of our time: income inequality.

New power is not only about strategy and tactics, the Harvard Business Review authors say. “The ultimate questions are ethical. The big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems.”

That sounds like a call to arms. Or a New Year’s resolution. Old power or new, the goals are the same: to be a force for positive change in the world. Happy 2015!

— Linda


Read more...

Powerbook Perspective

January-Powerbook 2015
Friday, December 12, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

A conversation with Oregon state economist Josh Lehner.


Read more...

The short list: 4 companies engaged in a battle of the paddles

The Latest
Thursday, December 04, 2014
pingpongthumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Nothing says startup culture like a ping pong table in the office, lounge or lobby.


Read more...

Free Falling

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, December 18, 2014
121714-oilprice-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB CONTRIBUTOR

The implosion of the energy complex: The best thing for low oil prices is low oil prices.


Read more...

The 100 Best Companies survey is open

News
Friday, October 24, 2014

100-best-logo-2015 500pxw-1How does your workplace stack up against competitors? How can you improve workplace practices to help recruit and retain employees? Find out by taking our 100 Best Companies to Work for in Oregon survey!


Read more...

Justice for All

January-Powerbook 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

Lawger upends the typical hourly based fee model by letting clients determine the cost.


Read more...

Growing a mobility cluster

News
Friday, October 31, 2014
0414 bikes bd2f6052BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Why are there so few transportation startups in Portland?  The city’s leadership in bike, transit and pedestrian transportation has been well-documented.  But that was then — when government and nonprofits paved the way for a new, less auto centric way of life.


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