Economic Benefits of Local Farmers’ Market are Far-reaching


The Hunterdon Land Trust conducted a customer survey to determine the local economic impact of its Farmers’ Market held at the Dvoor Farm on Route 12. The Land Trust used a survey tool specifically designed to measure a public market’s impact on the local economy. The results conservatively estimated over $1.0 million dollars in total economic impact over the 23 week season of the market. “We are pleased to learn that our three-year-old Farmers’ Market is having such a big impact locally, especially during this difficult economy,” commented Margaret Waldock, Hunterdon Land Trust executive director.

Based on what shoppers reported, the survey estimated how much is spent each week at the market, how much is spent each week at nearby businesses, the resulting sales tax revenue, and the economic impact generated by successive rounds of re-spending these initial dollars throughout the community.

Among the shoppers surveyed, the average amount spent was $36 each week and, based on a conservative estimate of 500 shoppers, approximately $18,000 was spent at the market each Sunday. This translates into an estimated $400,000 being spent at the market over the 23 week season. Shoppers reported spending about another $24 each, or $12,000 in total each market day at other local businesses. This comes to $280,000 for the whole season including an additional $10,000 in sales tax revenue. The downstream economic impact of this initial spending is over $1.0 million, generated when farmers’ market vendors reinvest their earnings locally.

The survey showed that the market is drawing customers from across the region. Most of the market’s customers live in Flemington area, and a significant portion come from as far away as Ottsville, Pennsylvania and Lawrenceville, New Jersey. ““It’s no surprise that the Farm Market is successful and having a positive impact on the local economy. Analysis like this survey should be used to measure this impact and establish a baseline for this and other investments in our rural character” said John King, Deputy Mayor of Raritan Township.

The popularity of local markets has grown significantly as consumers seek out sources for fresh, locally-produced food. “The results of this survey support what we’ve observed, more shoppers are seeking out the bounty of our county’s farms. That’s good news for farmers and anyone who wishes to see farms remain a part of our local economy and our county’s landscape,” commented Ms. Waldock.

The survey revealed strong customer approval by those surveyed who were also asked about what they’d like to see added to the market. Two popular requests included adding a cheese and/or dairy vendor and an additional market day during the week. “We hope to address both of these issues next year,” added Ms. Waldock.

The Hunterdon Land Trust Farmers’ Market is made possible by the financial support of local businesses including, Stem Brothers, Inc., Team Capital Bank, and Raritan Valley Disposal and Recycling and the market music sponsors Dave Phillips Music and Sound and Matt’s Red Rooster Grill. “Many of our customers are farmers and we are happy for this opportunity to support them. We see the Hunterdon Land Trust Alliance and its farmers market at the Dvoor Farm as an excellent way to give back to our community”, said Craig Stem of Stem Brothers, Inc.

The market is closed for the season and will be reopening in May 2010. Plans are already underway to survey more customers next year.