Higher Costs and Income?

digit(ID/WA)April 28, 2006

I noticed last year that with gas prices of $3 and higher that both our fuel costs and customer attandence at the farmers' market were higher.

Keeping the pickup fed was EXPENSIVE and it isn't much fun pulling into the gas station again this year. But, I'm told that food prices are going up at the supermarket.

Americans are in love with their cars however not feeling that they can go far for entertainment seemed to make them inclined to attend near-by events last year. I'm hoping that our 10% above supermarket prices can be across the board at the FM, also.

What were your experiences?


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Hi Steve -

I don't know if the gas prices are going to affect the traffic flow at the FM that I sell at or not, but they definitely are going to hurt my CSA. I deliver to the Twin Cities area that is 80 miles away. My only saving grace is that I have a few landscape customers up there that I can work while I am there and can pass some of the increase along a bit.

For the most part, I am shut out of any of the larger FMs as there are waiting lists for vendors that run into the hundreds. The bigger FMs also have rules that make it difficult for a one-person operation to manage (set up by 6 AM??? Stay for eight hours, even if you sold out four hours ago). Thus I am limited to our local FM and I suspect that it is a bit out of the ordinary as FM go. First, it is located in a very small town (pop. 700), but draws its shoppers from a 10-15 mile radius. I suppose it could be called a "bedroom" community for Rochester. The only supermarket in that circle is three miles away. Second, it only has two regular produce vendors and four regular "junk/collectible" vendors. During the height of the summer, 4 or 5 other "one-crop" vendors may show up, such as the 80-year old something guy in a wheelchair who grows only beets; or the father/son duo that dump 400 pounds of tomatoes in the back of their pickup and then sells two  they also show up in late May with 400 over grown scraggly tomato plant that they sell for twenty-five cents a pop. The gas prices may not have any effect on whether or not the shoppers show up, but it might have on all these one-time vendors who have done it as a lark in the past. The other permanent vendor travels about 80 miles to get here in a very old school bus that I canÂt imagine it gets much more than 8-9 mpg  I donÂt know if he will raise his prices to cover his expenses. I am only 5 miles from the market, so the gas will not affect me. Finally  my baked goods sell better than my produce  obviously a testament to AmericaÂs piss poor eating habits! And as long as the price of electricity stays the same, I can profit from my pies.

I suspect that the trendy FM in urban areas may be able to profit from idea that vendorÂs veggies are local and less gas has been used in transport to market. They may or may not be able to compete with supermarket prices  who knows how much the fuel prices are going to affect the bottom line prices at the supermarket, and more important, how much will consumers notice?

Say, Steve, aren't you in the Denver area? I live there in the winter and here in Minnesota during the growing season. Where abouts are you growing?


    Bookmark   April 29, 2006 at 8:10AM
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Luddene, we are a few hundred miles north of Denver but still in the Rockies. We garden in a valley in the Selkirk Range. (Probably closer to Twin Cities than if we were in Denver.)

Say, that's a rather unusual Winter home for someone from Minnesota . . . or should I say, a rather unusual Summer home for someone from Denver.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2006 at 11:44PM
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