State Farmers Market experiencing drop in attendance
Posted November 4, 2015
Raleigh, N.C. — Whether it's for pumpkins, peppers or peanuts, millions of people are drawn to the State Farmers Market every year.
However, this year’s edition has yielded a smaller crowd. Every month this year, the farmers market has seen attendance drop by tens of thousands of people, according to farmers market officials.
“Here in the last month or so it’s been kind of slow,” said Jeff Allen, who owns a farm in Johnston County. “I honestly think that a lot of it has to do with people one-stop shopping now.”
In October of 2014, more than 344,000 people were in attendance at the farmers market. Last month, attendance was down by more than 69,000.
“We had less than a 50 percent peach crop and less than 50 percent apple crop, and we’re struggle to get rid of it,” said apple farmer, Tommy Core.
Monica Wood, a marketer of the farmers market, said she believes the construction from the nearby Fortify project could be affecting attendance.
“We get a lot of phone calls from folks asking about how to get here due to the construction,” Wood said.
A record 3.85 million people passed through the farmers market in 2013. About 100 venders are set up at the farmers market; the vendors said they typically see a spike in business before Thanksgiving.
Margaret Copeland, a regular famers market attendee from Roanoke Rapids, said some of the items available at the farmers market that are not available at regular grocery stores cannot be replaced.
“When gradmamas like me die off, they’re going to be hungry for all the things they had that are not available in a grocery store,” Copeland said.