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By Staff | Feb 9, 2010

There are several farmers markets operating during the summer in our region. During the 2009 market season, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service conducted two surveys throughout Iowa.

The first survey was of farmers market customers and the second targeted farmers market vendors. Highlights from both surveys are listed below.

The purpose of the first survey was to obtain current information on customers of farmers markets. It revealed that:

  • Nearly 40 percent of the farmers market customers reported they spent $21 or more per visit, compared with 26 percent in 2004.
  • The average customer expected to shop at a farmers market 10 times during the season, compared with 13 times in 2004.
  • Slightly over 84 percent of farmers market customers purchased fruits or vegetables, down 2 percentage points from 2004; while 45 percent purchased baked goods, up 3 percentage points from 2004; and 31 percent purchased prepared foods or ready-to-eat food, an 11 percentage point increase from 2004.
  • The average distance the customer traveled to attend the market was nine miles compared with eight miles in 2004.
  • Customers at Iowa farmers markets shopped at an average of 1.2 additional local businesses the day they attended the farmers market.
  • Customers reported they would have only shopped at 0.9 local businesses on average if they had not attended the farmers market.
  • Slightly more than 59 percent of customers reported their age as 51 years or older, compared with 60 percent in 2004.
  • More than half of farmers market customers have a household income of $50,000 or more.

The purpose of the second survey investigated the demographics of the farmers market vendors.

  • Almost 48 percent of farmers market vendors reported they plan to sell at any market 25 days or more during 2009.
  • On average, vendors planned to attend 2 farmers markets during the 2009 market season.
  • Slightly more than 45 percent of vendor sales was derived from selling fruits or vegetables, down from 50 percent in 2004 and 21 percent of sales came from baked goods, unchanged from 2004.
  • Nearly 42 percent of the vendors reported their gross sales during 2009 were expected to be $2,501 or more, compared with 48 percent in 2004.
  • Vendors reported 18 percent of their household income was derived from farmers markets.
  • The average number of years the vendor has participated in farmers markets is 8 years, unchanged from 2004.
  • Nearly 59 percent of the vendor operators reported they were 51 years of age or older, compared with 57 percent in 2004.

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