Choosing Farmers Markets
I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
When asked why Washington farmers choose to sell at farmers markets Colleen Donovan, research coordinator with the WSU Small Farms Program had this to say.
DONOVAN: In 2014 direct marketing farmers have more and more options - they have community supported agriculture, they have u-pick, they have farm stands, they have selling to restaurants, they have selling to schools and institutions. So why sell at a farmers market? What we found was the number one motivation was building relationships with customers.
Donovan explains why this type of customer connection works.
DONOVAN: It works because in a small amount of time they can have a large number of shoppers come to them. And over time and based in a particular community those relationships give them feedback on their products - how did you like these tomatoes, was this the right variety? Whatever the case may be that relationship goes both ways - from the customer to the farmer and from the farmer to the customer.
There are other reasons as well for farmers to choose farmers markets to sell their products.
DONOVAN: Such as receiving at the retail value for the product sold. In this case the farmer is getting the full food dollar from the customer. Another important reason is farmers have a strong value in being able to provide Washington citizens with healthy food.
Donovan says the enthusiasm for farmers markets continues to grow and hopefully their research data can help people learn how to sustain that.
DONOVAN: We want to help people take farmers markets seriously as an important sector of agriculture and also in terms of community building and therefore perhaps explore ways in which public policy can support it in which the community understands why it is so critical for community to come out and support the market.
That's Washington Ag Today.
I'm Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.