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Survey Says……

December 13, 2012

Back in August, shortly after the inside market opened, I positioned myself outside to question shoppers as they exited one Saturday. I was interested in finding out how they heard about the Wild Ramp and what they thought about their shopping experience.

Now that the Wild Ramp has been open for five months it was time for another survey. Since I volunteer at the Wild Ramp every Wednesday, I had a chance to interview shoppers as they wandered.Dec 2012 a

Again, the concept of local food was prevalent. Shoppers stated that they really like the idea of eating food that is produced nearby. When asked why it appealed to them, some said it just tasted better since it was fresher. They said the produce always tasted great, unlike some of the produce from the grocery store which had milder flavors. The Wild Ramp meats, they said, also provide a fuller flavor. One person said the flavor of the food reminded her of meals she had eaten at her granny’s farm when she was small. She had not tasted anything like that since that time.

When asked if they were trying to avoid pesticides or herbicides the answer was mixed. Most people said they prefer not to put extra chemicals into their body but truthfully, they generally do not think about it. They are happy to know that most of our Producers use farming practices that avoid chemicals but they are not primarily seeking organic food. They were happy to here that one of our Producers, The Potager, is a certified organic farm, buit only a couple people said that made their shopping easier.

One other strong reason that shoppers continue to patronize the Wild Ramp is that they have found items here that can not be purchased in other stores in the area. They like the flavor of the food and they are willing to pay for it. They said that although a few of those items cost more than grocery store substitutes when they compare flavor and the ingredient list they not only enjoy eating it but feel their health is worth the price. One man said he was eagerly awaiting his Christmas dinner when he would roast the free-range turkey he purchased right before Thanksgiving.

Several shoppers came in planning to shop for their dinner, just willing to choose what it would be as they noticed what was available. They were very happy with the choices and said they had some trouble deciding because there were so many wonderful items for them to consider.

greeningbQuite a few people came in to purchase Christmas gifts. Some specifically bought items, like Rossi pasta, which their gift recipient had enjoyed when living in the area, but had moved away and giving that as a gift would bring delight. Others were just excited to purchase unique food or craft items and quite a few of the cookbooks also were purchased for gift giving .proof

A few questions came up which I will answer here as well.

Local, as far as the Wild Ramp is concerned, is mostly within 100 miles of Huntington. In other, drier parts of the country, local extends to 250 miles, and in this first year, while we identify Producers, we are willing to go that far to find quality food items for the Wild area

We have a variety of farmers who bring meat to the Wild Ramp. All are grass fed although some also are fed grain to some extent. One, Mil-ton Farm, uses grain as a treat, so you can think of it like a cookie after dinner.  They use grain as a treat to teach their animals to come to them when called. Only one farm, Cooney Creek, is 100% grass fed. All Producers have informed us that their animals are ASH-free. This has nothing to do with a fire. ASH stands for Antibiotics, Steroids and Hormones. To be ASH-free means that the meat that you purchase from the Wild Ramp has none of those chemicals fed or injected into the live animals and that means eating those meats will not put those chemicals into your body. More information about each of the farms is found in the blog.  I recently listed all the farm visits again so you could access the information easily, but you could read through the entire blog to find out a lot more about how the Wild Ramp works as well.

DSC_0008Some produce is available during the winter months. Four or five of our farmers have installed high tunnels or hoop houses this year. Think of these as plastic covered greenhouses. Grown in soil, the plants inside are protected from the cold temperatures as well as the rain and snow.  This means the interior has to be irrigated. Another farmer has had a high tunnel for several years with berry bushes inside.  Because the production of fresh fruits and vegetables is limited during the winter, you might want to check the Wild Ramp daily for information about what is new. If you are a Friend of the Market, one of the perks is that you can call and ask something to be set aside for you until you can come in. That way you can take advantage of something that has come in fresh.

So, the five month survey is similar to the first month survey: people who shop at the Wild Ramp primarily do so to support the local business that is The Wild Ramp Market as well as the many local businesses that provide food to the Market. A second reason is they have found that the food tastes great!  And now, many people are finding the Wild Ramp is a great resource for gifts!! The Wild Ramp is open Tuesday-Friday 10-6 and Saturday 10-4 in the shops at Heritage Station, Huntington.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Ruth permalink
    December 13, 2012 12:43 pm

    Have they mailed the cookbooks yet?

    • December 13, 2012 1:04 pm

      The Kickstarter committee is working on getting all the prizes out. I will check on timing and get back to you.

  2. December 13, 2012 2:08 pm

    Thanks Beth. I am wondering how to buy a cookbook. Can it bhe bought online or should I call the Wild Ramp. I’d walk there but it would take months!

    • December 13, 2012 2:10 pm

      I posed the question to the store manager to see if she would prefer a check or if we could take a credit card over the phone. Which would you prefer?

      • December 13, 2012 2:28 pm

        credit card, quicker. I rarely use checks anymore. I can give the number over the phone.

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