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Until recently small scale farming has been considered inefficient and undesirable. Small farmers have found it difficult to compete with large operators in the market place because of their inability to provide a significant quantity of product over an extended period of time to meet the needs of large scale marketing firms. According to the 1978 Census of Agriculture small farms, those with sales under $40,000, account for nearly 76 percent of the farms in Maine. Therefore, a market system has developed which is not amenable to the small farmer who represents a significant segment of Northeast agriculture.
Though the formal marketing system has become relatively inaccessible to the small farmer, changes in the American consumer's preferences offer the small farmer hope. In the late 1960s and through the 1970s it became evident that food buying behavior of consumers across the nation was changing. It appeared that consumer food preferences changed, with quality factors such as freshness and taste, growing methods and packaging, and nutrition becoming important to more people. The objective of this paper was to determine direct market users and non-users habits, levels of acceptance, and preferences for direct marketed small farm horticultural commodities in Maine.
Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station
direct markets, roadside stand, farmers' markets, pick-your-own
Buitenhuys, Neil C.; King, F. Richard; Kezis, Alan S.; and Kerr, Howard W.. 1983. B796: A Comparison of Direct Market Users and Nonusers Habits, Acceptance, and Preferences for Direct Marketed Small Farms Horticulture Commodities. Maine Agricultural and Forest Experiment Station Bulletins 796.