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Friday, August 12, 2011

Where do people in the mid-Atlantic buy their in-season produce?

In the past year, I've been writing about research conducted by Penn State on consumer purchasing behaviors in the mid-Atlantic. One of the research questions asked participants about where they buy in-season produce. Responses were grouped according to the metro area where participants lived (Richmond, Philadelphia, New York City, Washington D.C., and Baltimore) and then tested against each other based on whether or not participants indicated that farmers’ markets/CSAs were their primary source of buying produce when in-season, versus choosing other places to buy (i.e. grocery, supercenter, warehouse, natural food store, etc.).

Overall, 29.3% of survey participants selected farmers’ markets/CSAs as their primary place to buy in-season produce. As shown in the graph below, a significantly lower percentage of D.C. participants, compared to Philadelphia, Baltimore, and N.Y.C., chose farmers’ markets/CSAs. Also,a significantly higher percentage of Philadelphia participants chose farmers’ markets/CSAs as their primary source of produce compared to N.Y.C. participants.



Local farmers and retailers growing and selling fruits and vegetables while they are in-season can use this data to get an idea of what percentage of total market share they may expect to achieve. As a mid-Atlantic farmer, have you tried to sell to these metropolitan areas? Why do you think DC has a lower percentage of respondents who shop primarily at farmers' markets/CSAs?

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