University researchers have used the Rapid Market Assessent process (html) (pdf) developed at Oregon State University to analyze farmers' markets in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. This RMA technique involves market managers, board members, community leaders, professionals and others in conducting customer counts, soliciting customer dot responses to four questions, and providing their own subjective evaluation of the market.
Oregon State University researchers conducted extensive telephone surveys of managers in all three states to determine the key factors in creating successful farmers' markets.
Oregon Farmers' Market Assessment Highlights, 2001. (PDF – 529K)
Oregon Farmers' Market Assessment Highlights, Summer 2002. (PDF – 622K)
Beaverton Farmers' Market, 8/10/02. Thirty three percent of respondents reported expecting to spend an average of $22.69 in nearby restaurants and shops, for a total of $38,400 in expected spill over sales. (PDF – 575K)
Corvallis Wednesday Market, 7/17/02. The average customer spends $18.52, up 12% from 1998, and 88% have been shopping at the market for more than a year. (PDF – 582K)
Grants Pass Farmers' Market, 9/22/01. Sixty-five percent of the respondents reported that they expected to spend an average of $14.76 per shopping group, for total expected spill over sales of over $22,000 on that date. (PDF – 565K)
Hillsdale Farmers' Market, 8/11/02. Of the shoppers responding to our questions, 40% reported more frequent trade with neighborhood shops and restaurants as a result of shopping at this market. (PDF – 587K)
Hillsboro Farmers' Market, 8/3/03. (PDF – 535K)
Hood River Farmers' Market, 8/18/01. Forty-seven percent of the shoppers were tourists and 57% appreciate the mix of agricultural products and crafts. (PDF – 572K)
Portland Farmers' Market (Thursday), 8/23/01. Two-thirds of shoppers at this first-year market have shopped at other local markets this summer and one-half come from outside northwest Portland. (PDF – 566K)
Portland Farmers' Market (Thursday), 7/31/03. This third-year market is on a new site and … (PDF – 551K)
Kirkland Farmers' Market, 8/20/03. Of 4200 shoppers 57% come downtown primarily for the farmers' market with the average customer spending $13.47 at the market and $16.03 in downtown businesses. (PDF – 226K)
Mt. Vernon Farmers' Market, 8/9/03. Recent growth means 48% of customers are new within the last two years, and the average customer spends $17.24 at the market and an equal amount in downtown businesses. (PDF – 234K)
Pasco Farmers' Market, 10/25/03. (PDF – 230K)
Port Angeles Farmers' Market, 9/25/02. Customers report spending an average of $22.68 in local businesses, more than they spend in the market itself. (PDF – 211K)
Tacoma Farmers' Market, 8/21/03. Forty-one percent of its 5,800 customers come from outside Pierce County and 43% come to the market at least twice a month. (PDF – 230K)
University District Farmers' Market (Seattle), 9/7/02. With median household income of $57,000 and average customer spending of $23.85, this urban food mecca's customers are 63% households of 1-2 people. (PDF – 224K)
Yakima Farmers' Market, 8/11/02. Forty-one percent of shoppers come only occasionally, and 40% come from outside Yakima, but all customers spend an average of $17.41 at the market. (PDF – 214K)
Hope Farmers' Market, 8/28/03. (PDF – 88K)
Kootenai County Farmers' Market, 9/21/02. (PDF – 101K)
Moscow Farmers' Market, 7/19/03. (PDF – 118K)
Sandpoint Farmers' Market, 8/29/2003. (PDF – 89K)
Independent Market Research
Ephrata Farmers’ Market Survey, 9/13/03. While 63% of customers come primarily for produce, 17% respond to entertainment and 14% to crafts. (PDF – 254K)
Original research conducted at Oregon State University drew from the knowledge and experience of farmers’ market managers and members of boards of directors. Farmers’ market managers were the principle subjects of this study. A variety of methods were used, including a telephone survey of market managers, interviews, participant observation, and analysis of public documents. Participants were included at each stage of the project from creation of survey questions, to offering input on data analysis and results, to the final review and critique of the recommendations. Market manager focus groups reviewed the findings and discussed their implications, helping to keep the project grounded.
A learning Approach to Strengthening Farmers' Markets by Larry Lev and Garry Stephenson. August 2002. (PDF – 708K)
Dot Posters: A Practical Alternative to Written Questionnaires and Oral Interviews by Larry Lev and Garry Stephenson. October 1999.