Andrew Raynor Dover NH
A high percentage of Granite Staters who answered recent surveys say they have shopped at a local farmers’ market, mainly to support local farms and have access to high quality products, according to the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food.
Two surveys were conducted from February through April 2017 as part of a collaboration of the agriculture department; the University of New Hampshire Department of Natural and Cultural Resources; the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension and the New Hampshire Farmers’ Market Association.
The first was conducted via telephone as part of the Granite State Polling program where New Hampshire residents were called at random and asked about their farmers’ market experiences. The second was an online survey offered to existing farmers’ market shoppers from across the state.
Shopping habits at both summer and winter farmers markets were examined. The goal of the project was to obtain information about consumer shopping experiences and attitudes related to farmers’ markets that would then be helpful to farmers and market coordinators in meeting shoppers’ needs.
More than 500 responded to the phone survey, with 84 percent of them reporting they had shopped at a farmers’ market. Product quality, variety, market hours and location were all important to the shopping experience.
For the 16 percent who said they had never shopped at a farmers market, it was because there was not one nearby or did not know of them. Inconvenience and lack of time to shop at a farmers’ market were also among the reasons cited.
The results of the second survey show that 60 percent of the 369 participants said they shopped at both summer and winter markets in 2016 and nearly 40 percent visited a farmers’ market once a week. More than half said they shopped at a farmers’ market in 2016 with the same frequency as 2015, but about 30 percent said they shopped at a farmers’ market more often in 2016.
Many respondents said that in addition to their desire to support local agriculture and buy fresh and high-quality products, they came to farmers’ markets because the experience was fun and they enjoyed seeing and interacting with people in those places.
The full survey report will be available soon and found on the partner organizations’ websites. For more information contact Gail McWilliam Jellie at 603-271-3788, email@example.com, or visit the Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food at www.agriculture.nh.gov