Seasonal farmers markets remain the predominant market type in the United States. Approximately 88 percent of respondents reported they operated seasonal markets, open, on average, 4.5 months per year. As might be expected, seasonal markets that were open for 6 or fewer months per year attracted fewer vendors and generated less revenue than farmers markets open 7 months or more. Markets open 6 months or less reported an average of 25 vendors, with sales of $20,770 per month, and serving 565 customers weekly. Markets open 7 months or more reported an average of 51 vendors, with $57,290 in monthly market sales and serving 942 customers weekly. Year-round markets reported more than three times the sales of markets operating 6 months or less, had more than twice the number of vendors, and slightly more than six times the number of weekly customers. On the other hand, seasonal farmers markets that operated for 7 or more months performed similarly to markets that were open 12 months per year. Year-round markets reported an average of 58 vendors, had monthly market sales of $69,497, and served 3,578 customers weekly. Location appears to be a critical factor in market performance. Most market managers reporting high monthly sales were in densely populated urban areas. The most successful farmers markets in terms of sales were located on the coasts. The Far West and Mid-Atlantic regions reported average monthly sales of at least twice that of other regions—$56,742 and $41,452 respectively. The sales of the remaining regions clustered around $23,000 a month. The number of customers per week, as reported by region, somewhat mirrored monthly sales per market regionally. The Far West and Mid-Atlantic regions were again the top two regions, reporting 1,964 and 974 customers per week respectively. The North Central Region was a close third, reporting 856 customers weekly, and the remaining regions around 700 customers per week. Markets that sold organic products reported larger numbers of weekly customers, larger number of vendors, and larger monthly market sales at their markets. Both seasonal and year-round markets that sold organic products performed better than markets that did not. Seasonal markets that sold organic products reported average monthly market sales of $34,715 and 854 customers per week. Seasonal markets that didn’t sell organic products reported $11,812 in monthly market sales and served 394 customers per week. Similar results were reported by year-round markets—those that sold organic products reported monthly market sales of $92,349 and 4,344 customers weekly; those that did not reported $41,584 and 2,590 customers. Seventy-one percent of markets that sold organic products were located in urban areas, compared with only 55 percent of markets that did not.4 These relationships held true for markets that sold organic products regionally, except for the Northeast region that reported markets without organic products were more often located in urban areas than markets that sold organic products. However, in spite of this one inconsistency, Northeast markets that sold organic products had more customers and vendors, and higher monthly market sales than markets in other regions across the Nation. Government programs had varying degrees of impact on vendor sales at farmers markets. The Women, Infants, and Children Farmers Market Nutrition Program (WIC FMNP) had the largest effect, showing average monthly sales of $1,744 nationwide and 61 percent participation. Senior Farmers Market Nutrition program (SFMNP) average sales were $1,004 per month and 45 percent of markets reported they accepted SFMNP vouchers. The average Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) sales, which utilize electronic benefits transfer (EBT), were a distant third at $279 a month and only 7 percent of markets reported accepting EBT cards. Clearly the WIC FMNP had the greatest impact on vendor sales, both nationwide and regionally.


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