One-on-one semi-structured interviews were conducted during the summer of 2014 with ten farm shop managers and owners in England. Only seven of the farms shops were located in urban-rural fringe areas, so these data are presented here. All the farm shops were located within the urban-rural fringe of either London or Leicester and were located on working farms. Snowball sampling was used, where one interviewee would suggest another distinctly different interview site within close proximity. The questions were developed from themes in food tourism and agricultural marketing literature. The interviews were recorded and transcribed. All data were hand coded into themes by two separate researchers and then compared for accuracy. Three main themes are discussed here: merchandising, sourcing and developing tourism.
This research provides three general themes that reflect both supply and demand challenges for farm shops. Merchandising refers to defining local foods, finding an appropriate mix of products, as well as service opportunities to satisfy customers. Sourcing refers to the supply challenges facing farm shops, including working with local farmers, regulatory requirements and supporting the local community. Developing tourism describes access to tourism markets, image creation and presenting an authentic farm experience for visitors. It can be argued that merchandising denotes satisfying urban and suburban customers, whereas sourcing shows the interconnections with rural communities and agriculture.