[Market-farming] FM's in rural areas

Margaret L Wilson booldawgs at cavenet.com
Fri Feb 11 14:05:00 EST 2005

I live near a very small town with a very low median income and high unemployment.  Most houses in town have decent size yards and there are lots of small homes on small rural parcels.Do they all have gardens??  NO, hardly any of them do.

I have a list of elderly ladies from the 7th Day Adventist Church that are semi vegetarians.  They will buy any veggie that I have.  They love raw beets.
Food prices in our 2 supermarkets (that term is a stretch) are very high and the quality is poor to terrible.  IMO, the climate here is reasonably mild.  Growing your own food is a lost skill.  Don't even mention preserving it.
Margaret SW Oregon
  Okay, you are right, it is a broad statement.  When you are looking for a market of people who need your product, however, most businesses tend to situate themselves where they can reach the biggest percentage. Location, location, location.  Also, it's an evaluation of the success of your product in a given area.  For example, I've found that FM's located near retirement areas do not work for my product (herbs), but FM's located in downtown areas of large metropolitan areas do.

   So, if it's likely that many rural areas have homes with enough yard space to have a garden of some sort, then you must consider the possibility that the people who shop at your stand will be looking for the cheapest garden produce that they can find.  Why?  Because they are familiar with the pricing of seeds, they are familiar with potential yield, and they are familiar with giving a lot of their own yield away.  So, the inherent value of your produce is diminished. I'm sure many of us have heard customers say things like "Oh, that's too much to pay for a tomato, I could grow them myself."  It is like trying to sell retail to a wholesale crowd.  Many times vendors in this situation end up lowering their prices just to get rid of the items they brought to market.  Hopefully they stay in the black with the bottom line.

  Of course there are probably many rural areas that have subdivisions of commuters in them that flock to a local FM for fresh food.  Then you have a market of people who need your product, are willing to pay the prices you need to stay in business, and appreciate that you are providing them with fresh, top quality produce.

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