A University of New Hampshire study of farmers markets in Rockingham and Strafford counties found that the markets are growing and people don’t mind paying more for local food.
The study, conducted between 2005 and 2010, consisted of two surveys, commissioned by the UNH Cooperative Extension and the College of Life Science and Agriculture.
One study surveyed 388 customers of two markets in the two counties.
The other polled managers of 25 farmers markets in the counties.
The survey of patrons found:
- The majority of customers spend between $26-60 per market visit.
- Seventy-seven percent travel fewer than 10 miles to their farmers market.
- Forty-six percent shop at their local farmers market once a week.
More than half of the patrons surveyed said the farmers market prices were higher, but more than 80 percent said they were “either very satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the prices.”
“The desire to support local producers appears to be the dominant reason why respondents patronized their farmers market,” the researchers wrote.
The market manager survey revealed that 85 percent of the markets either grew in the number of vendors or stayed the same.
Sales grew for 61 percent of the markets during the time of the survey.
Also, 85 percent of the markets relied on stall fees as the primary source of revenue, and advertising was the biggest expense.