Your First Farmer's Market: FAQs

 Image from  Flickr

Image from Flickr

There are countless farmer’s markets scattered throughout the country, and with the ever-growing emphasis on healthy eating, I doubt we’re going to see them starting to disappear any time soon! If you always seem to have a surplus of produce on your hands, then you may have toyed around with the idea of setting up your own stall here and there. If this is going to be your first rodeo, here are the answers to a few questions you may have.

What Sells at Farmer’s Markets?

I’m sorry to tell you, but this is a bit of a tough one to answer. Figuring out what’s really going to sell all depends on the specific farmer’s market, the kinds of shoppers who visit it, and the makeup of permanent retail outlets in the locality. What I can tell you, however, is that there’s a bigger demand for fresh, organic produce than there has been in a long time, so you’re almost certain to have some kind of selling point no matter where you set up your stall! Having said that, you should still visit a couple of candidates before paying for the space, assess what’s already on offer, and try to identify a way that will make your stall stand out. Like any business endeavor, this is going to be the secret of attracting customers.

How Expensive Is It Going to Be?

 Image from  Flickr

Image from Flickr

If you’re inexperienced with selling at farmer’s markets, then naturally you’re going to be wondering whether or not you need to spend a lot on your stall. The short answer is that you’re not going to need a small fortune, but you shouldn’t neglect the appearance, and a certain degree of professionalism, when setting up your stall. A farmer’s market isn’t like a store where people are going to be browsing through everything with a kind of pre-established interest. Many of them will be milling around absently, sometimes without even wanting anything, and your stall is going to have to stick out enough for them to stop and have a look. Keep your produce arranged in an inviting way, source a white coat or apron, and make sure you or whoever’s selling looks professional. Remember to budget carefully for the stall itself, the dent in your usual yield, and other things like paper bags and produce scales. Looking like you belong is a big part of making a profit.

 

Should I Pre-Pack or Have It Loose?

The choice between pre-packing the produce you’re selling and having it displayed more loosely on your stand is something that stumps a lot of farmers the first time they take their surplus to market. Again, this is a question where there isn’t just one answer; it all depends on the specific market you’re going to be setting up at. At some farmer’s markets, having loose produce is the norm, and pre-packing it will only serve to detract customers from the appeal of fresher looking produce. However, when the market’s filled to burst, pre-packing and pre-pricing can stop queues from building up.