The purpose of this study was to provide an overview of the attributes of producers who participate in farmers’ markets and to examine different aspects of their operations. In addition to demographics, the characteristics explored in this report include farm size, acreage grown, wholesale and retail activities, location, and personnel employed. Data related to business development, ownership status, days of operation, products sold, marketing and organic production was also collected. The results show that the majority of New Jersey growers who retail through farmers’ markets began this type of activity since 1990 and while their businesses were still in a state of growth. However, the average number of acres planted and workers employed characterized farmers’ markets as small scale operations. The income from these facilities represented, in general, less than 40 percent of the total retail gross sales. Most producers indicated that they were satisfied with the profit margin obtained. Farmers usually attended 1 market per day and traveled an average of 54 miles daily. In particular, farmers chose farmers’ markets as a retail channel because they could obtain higher prices, target a greater volume of people, interact with customers and lower overhead costs. Tomatoes, corn, herbs, peaches, flowers, apples and greens were the most important farm products sold based on dollar value. Although the majority of the farmers sold value-added products, only 23 percent of those surveyed offered organic produce. Prices were usually determined by comparison with chain stores or based on cost accounting, market reports or experience. In general, participants believed that their farmers’ market operations would continue to expand over the next five years. The descriptive results presented in this report help identify the characteristics that contribute towards growers’ participation in the farmers’ markets and the factors that make these operations a viable marketing alternative. These findings may be especially useful for those in charge of the planning and coordination of farmers’ markets.


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