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Abstract

There is evidence that consumers are increasingly purchasing food directly from local producers, but little is understood about which market-specific, intrinsic, extrinsic, and demographic attributes influence the probability of preferring to purchase fresh produce through direct-market channels. A multinomial logit model is used to analyze a national dataset of fresh produce consumers with a focus on exploring differences among those that prefer to purchase direct always, occasionally (seasonally and as a secondary source), and never. Results suggest that to increase patronage and loyalty of current customers, producers may emphasize the availability of fresh, superior, vitamin-rich, and locally-grown produce at market locations through booth displays, ads in magazines, radio spots, and electronic newsletters. To attract new customers who do not currently admit a preference for purchasing direct, producers may find greater success by locating in convenient-to-reach venues, showcasing a variety of colorful offerings, and working to enhance the overall aesthetic appeal of market locations.

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