Success Factors for a Farmers’ Market

Managers of farmers’ markets across Indiana ranked the factors contributing to the overall success of the market as; 1) location, 2) the number of vendors attending the market (more is better) and 3) management of the market. The key factors influencing whether vendors opted to continue using the farmers market as a sales outlet were; 1) number of customers seen and b) the fees paid to the market.

Contrary to initial expectation, the higher the fee associated with using the market, the more likely the vendors were to return. This likely reflects use of the fees to promote the market or enhance the market facility. The number of customers attending the market increased with the range of products being offered. The presence of concession stands and cooking demonstrations also increased customer traffic but the presence of musical entertainment and picnic areas were perceived as being detrimental to overall use of the market.

The picnic areas were considered unsightly and the trash attracted flies and wasps to the market area. The music was perceived as either distracting from the customers’ ability to interact with the grower/vendors or that the people attracted to the market by the music were not necessarily interested in purchasing produce.

Source : Hoffman, Dennis and Marshall (HortScience 44:712-716 2009)