Iowa Farmers’ Market Surveys, 2009

The USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), Iowa Field Office released reports on November 30, 2009 detailing results from two surveys conducted at Iowa farmers' markets throughout the state. Highlights and survey details are given below. Survey 1 was of farmers' market customers and the second was farmers' market vendors.


1. 2009 Iowa Farmers’ Market Customer Survey: The purpose of the survey was to obtain current information on customer demographics of farmers’ markets.

  •  Nearly 40 percent of the customers who visit a farmers’ market reported they spent $21 or more, compared with 26 percent in 2004
  • The average customer expected to shop at a farmers’ market 10 times during the season, compared with 13 times in 2004
  • Slightly over 84 percent of farmers’ market customers purchased fruits or vegetables, down 2 percentage points from 2004, forty-five percent purchased baked goods, up 3 percentage points from 2004, and 31 percent purchased prepared foods or ready-to-eat food, an 11 percentage point increase from 2004.
  • The average distance the farmers’ market customer traveled to attend the market was 9 miles compared with 8 miles in 2004.
  • Customers at Iowa farmers’ markets shopped at an average of 1.2 additional local businesses the day they attended the farmers’ market.
  • Customers reported they would have only shopped at 0.9 local businesses on average if they had not attended the farmers’ market.
  • Slightly more than 59 percent of farmers’ market customers reported their age as 51 years or older, compared with 60 percent in 2004.
  • More than half of farmers’ market customers have a household income of $50,000 or more.

Survey methodology and other information, including detailed tabular results can be seen on the NASS website.


2. 2009 Iowa Farmers’ Market Vendor Survey: The purpose of the study was to obtain current information on the demographics of vendors at farmers’ markets. 

  • Almost 48 percent of vendors at farmers’ markets reported they plan to sell at any market 25 days or more during 2009.

  • On average, vendors planned to attend 2 farmers’ markets during the 2009 market season.

  • Slightly more than 45 percent of vendor sales was derived from selling fruits or vegetables, down from 50 percent in 2004 and 21 percent of their sales came from baked goods, unchanged from 2004.

  • Nearly 42 percent of the vendors reported their gross sales during 2009 were expected to be $2,501 or more, compared with 48 percent in 2004.

  • Vendors reported 18 percent of their household income was derived from farmers’ markets.

  • The average number of years the vendor has participated in farmers’ markets is 8 years, unchanged from 2004.

  • Nearly 59 percent of the vendor operators reported they were 51 years of age or older, compared with 57 percent in 2004.

For more information, including survey methodology and detailed tabular results see the NASS website.




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