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Abstract

This study examines responses of 336 produce consumers in San Luis Obispo County, California, to compare the profile of farmers' market shoppers to those who do not shop at farmers' markets. The characteristics of produce sold in farmers' markets are compared to those sold at supermarkets to determine why consumers shop in farmers' markets. This examination of the demographic profile of farmers' market produce consumers indicates that they are more likely to be female, married, and have completed post graduate work. The age levels, income levels, and employment status are similar between farmers' market shoppers and farmers' market non-shoppers. Farmers' market shoppers indicate that cooking and family meals are important to them. Consumers indicate that quality and value are among the most important attributes when purchasing produce. Consumers perceive that farmers' market produce is fresher looking, fresher tasting, a higher-quality product, a better value for the money, more reasonably priced, more likely to be grown in their country, more likely to be locally grown, more likely to be good for the environment, and more likely to be traceable to the processor and grower when compared to supermarket produce. However, many consumers do not shop at farmers' markets due to a lack of convenience.

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