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

Downtime

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

How State Representative Julie Parrish (House District 37) balances life between work and play.


Read more...

What I'm Reading

September 2014
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kim Ierian, President of Concorde Career Colleges, and Deborah Edward, Executive Director of Business for Culture & the Arts, share their recent reads.


Read more...

Register for 100 Best Companies survey

News
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
OBM-100-best-logo-2015 150pxwBy Kim Moore | OB Editor

The 2015 survey launched this week. It is open to for-profit private and public companies that have at least 15 full- or part-time employees in Oregon.


Read more...

Launch

October 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY

October's Launch article features Soul Kitchen, Easy Company and Slick's Big Time BBQ.


Read more...

The Alchemist

September 2014
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER

David Howitt explains why Portland consumer brands like Stumptown and Voodoo Doughnuts are taking the world by storm.


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...

Poll Wrap-Up

News
Friday, August 15, 2014

2014 NewPoll-report-newsletterthumbIn this week's poll, we asked readers: "Who should pay for the troubled Cover Oregon website?" Here are the results.


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