Buying Products Directly From Farmers and Valuing Agriculture: Behavior and Attitudes of New Hampshire Food Shoppers

Many farms in New Hampshire are reconsidering their business strategies due to adverse effects from local development, foreign agricultural imports, food industry consolidations and other factors beyond a farmer’s ability to influence or control. For some New Hampshire farms, this means taking a new look at opportunities for marketing their products direct to New Hampshire households. This, in turn, has created a need for information that helps farmers better target and communicate with potential customers and provide those customers with the products and services they want.

To address this need, the New Hampshire Food Shoppers Study was undertaken to:

  • support farmer efforts to increase the profitability of their businesses through direct marketing to New Hampshire food shoppers.
  • understand the attitudes of New Hampshire food shoppers towards local farm products, farm-to-consumer direct markets, farm viability and farmland protection.

Data was collected from a telephone survey of New Hampshire food shoppers conducted in September 2002 and analyzed to:

  • determine the behavior and attitudes of food shoppers who buy products directly from farmers at farm stands, U-Pick farms, farmers’ markets, and community supported agriculture (CSA) farms during the summer months.
  • assess food-shoppers’ attitudes toward farms and loss of farmland.
  • develop marketing recommendations for consideration by farmers to increase their direct sales to consumers.

Further studies will closely examine the profile of food shoppers and users of each market. These results will be forthcoming in a follow-up report.


Alberto B. Manalo, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Resource Economics & Development, University of New Hampshire Michael R. Sciabarrasi, Extension Professor and Specialist, Agriculture Business Management, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension Nada A. Haddad, Extension Educator, Agricultural Resources, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, Rockingham County Gail McWilliam Jellie, Director, Division of Agricultural Development, New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets & Food.

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