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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Do consumers know where their produce is grown?

Over the past few months, I've been posting about research done at Penn State on mid-Atlantic consumers and their purchasing habits. One of the most interesting questions (by my own beliefs) was in regard to what produce is not grown in the mid-Atlantic.

Responses for participants who answered that they did purchase products from farmers’ markets were then compared to responses for participants who answered that they did NOT purchase from farmers' markets. Of the non-farmers' market shoppers, responses were compared pertaining to participants’ belief of what particular fruits and vegetables (bananas, lettuce, apples, lemons, tomatoes, mangoes, potatoes, grapes and avocados) are NOT grown in the mid-Atlantic region.

Figure 1 shows that more participants who shopped at farmers' markets were able to correctly identify which fruits and vegetables are NOT grown in the mid-Atlantic region and fewer of these participants incorrectly selected produce that IS grown in the mid-Atlantic region. For example, a greater percentage of participants who purchased from farmers’ markets (82%) correctly selected bananas as being NOT grown in the mid-Atlantic region compared to 74% of participants who reported not purchasing from farmers’ markets.



Read the full press release here.

Does this mean that people who shop at farmers' markets know what produce is grown in the mid-Atlantic because they see it at the farmers' market? This may be true, but approximately 20% of participants who shopped at farmers' markets indicated that fruits such as lemons, mangos, and avocados were grown in the mid-Atlantic region. It could be that they are attending farmers' markets that sell local and non-local items. This data may also mean that consumers simply don't know where their produce comes from. As an ag entrepreneur, this may be a great time to educate people as to what is fresh, local, and in season!

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