Can Appomattox County Support a Farmers’ Market?
Farm Business Management Update, April - May2007
By Eric Eberly (email@example.com), Extension Agent, Farm Business Management, Central District
A farmer’s market has operated within Appomattox County with intermittent success over the past 25 years. Since a market is not currently in operation, consumers have expressed interest in re-establishing one. The Appomattox Extension office conducted three surveys in March 2006 to help determine the need to re-establish a market. These surveys attempted to address the needs of the farmers (vendors), business community, and consumer clientele. This article will address the interest of the consumers in purchasing goods from a farmer’s market.
Demographics: Appomattox County is a rural county in Central Virginia with a population of 13,705 according to the 2000 census. The median age is 39.1 years with 75.3 percent of the population being between 18 and 65. The median family income is $ 41,563 with 8.7% of the population living below the poverty level. Eighty-one percent of the families own their own home.
Procedure: A list of all county land owners was obtained from the Commissioner of Revenue’s Office. This list was reviewed and all invalid and duplicate addresses were removed. The list was sorted by zip code then alphabetically and all addresses with a non-Appomattox zip code were removed. The remaining addresses as sorted were assigned a number from 1 to 7. The survey was mailed to every 2nd and 5th address on this list (approximately 1,200). Four hundred eight (34%) surveys were returned and summarized.
Summary: Survey summaries imply an adequate consumer demand to support a farmer’s market within Appomattox County. Knowledge of consumers’ preferences allows growers to plan production, pricing, and marketing strategies more efficiently. Additionally, the survey results will assist market organizers in determining a strategic location for a future market.
Consumer interest survey questions and response summary
Question 1: Have you ever been to a Farmers Market? ( 93% ) YES ( 7% ) NO
Question 2: If a Farmers Market would be located in Appomattox County, where do you think it should be located?
A. No Preference or not marked 34%
B. Downtown Appomattox 29%
C. On Route 460 Business in the Town of Appomattox 19%
D. On Route 460 West of Route 26 10%
E. On Route 24 North of Route 460 Business 4%
F. Outside of the town of Appomattox 4%
Question 3: In general, would you prefer to purchase items on the weekend ( 77% ) or weekday evening ( 23% ).
If weekday evening, which evening would you prefer to make a purchase?
Thursday, Friday 7%
All Evenings 2%
Tuesday, Thursday, Friday
Question 4: What type of products would you like to buy at a Farmers Market?
Bedding Plants 14%
Baked Goods 11%
Organic fruits and vegetables 8%
Cut Flowers 7%
Meat Products 5%
Other products 7%
Question 5: How far would you be willing to drive to get to a farmers market?
10 to 20 minutes 32%
From 1 – 5 miles 30%
Greater than 5 miles 19%
Less than 10 minutes 9%
Greater than 20 miles 8%
Less than 1 mile 2%
Question 6: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Both responded 7%
Between 51 and 65 39%
Between 26 and 50 28%
65 and older 32%
25 and younger 1%
Where do you live?
Live outside of town 87%
Live outside of county 4%
In town of Appomattox 8%
Results of the survey will serve as information for the county as they consider establishment of a farmers market in the area.
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