Farmer's markets

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by lovethefarm, Nov 29, 2006.

  1. lovethefarm

    lovethefarm New Member

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    Just wondering if any of you are involved in a farmer's market. We are trying to make ours better and I am trying to get ideas to do that. Right now we have about 8 vendors that sell produce, baked goods and crafts. Do you have any ideas on how to attract other vendors, what kind of vendors would attract more people to the market and are there any markets out there that offer entertainment? Ours is on Friday evening 4 = 7 on the courthouse lawn which is a great location in town.
    Thanks,
    Jackie
     
  2. Fire-Man

    Fire-Man Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Probably Good advertisement to let the public know about the market and the things that are going on there and any new Vendor that is coming. I bet if you get 1000's of customers---then the vendors will show up in great numbers and fight for the best location. Having a few flee market type sellers selling out the back of their truck Or allow them ONE table directly behind there vehicle will draw alot of people. Good Luck!! Randy
     

  3. jross

    jross swamper

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    Here in South Jersey, our Farmer's market attendance doubles right after the authorities raid certain vendors for selling bootleg merchandise. Unfortunately, the number of vendors dramatically decreases. I think people just come to see if another raid comes about, which is not unusual, the authorities figuring those not caught will relax thinking a second raid is not probable.
     
  4. visionary

    visionary Well-Known Member

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    Many years ago, I was a cofounder of a marketing group in CT. We eventually had three locations. One in town on Sat., another in a rural location on Tues., and a third in a nearby industrial area on Thursday. This one was visited by workers who got paid that day and by a lot of older people who lived in various facilities there. We not only supplied their food but also became a social activity.

    As we grew we saw the need for diversity. If you have 30 vendors, you don't want most of them selling baskets of tomatoes when they are in season. We had people branch off to growing flowers (very profitable), which they sold in bunches and pots, specialized herbs and vegetables, like that.

    We also brought small animals to the market in spring when our offerings were sparse. It got people used to stopping by with their kids to say hi and become regular customers when we had more to offer.

    We also had our final market on the town green, with music and all the trappings of a fall festival. We honored 4-H families with a big banquet at which everything brought came from their farms and gardens. What we did was make the farm market part of the culture, not merely a place to buy food.

    Glad to see more people doing this again.
     
  5. sisterpine

    sisterpine Goshen Farm Supporter

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    Here in the middle of nowhere montana our farmers market is on a closed off street up town (down town business area) There are plenty of vendors of all types and it seems that having some music really brings in the people. I would think advertising is what you are lacking and perhaps not a big enough variety. You could post a notice in the same place that all other craft shows do (cripes, cant remember the name). Here everything that is at the market must be montana made. sis
     
  6. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    Attract the vendors first then the advertise for customers other wise people will come and never come back if their are only a few vendors it's important that the vendors come regularly and stay the whole morning. I am a member of the fayettevile AR farmers market one of the best in the country next year will be my 2nd year and i will be doing it full time just selling veggies and someday fruits and maybe honey. Check out the book "the New farmers market" from the library it has just the info you need in it. I hope your market grows and prospers where are you anyway?
     
  7. visionary

    visionary Well-Known Member

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    We did not allow vendors that sold anything other than what they grew, made, cooked, or added value to. It isn't fair to the guy or gal who works hard to grow vegetables, etc. to allow someone to go out and buy wholesale then resell it at the market. We threw out anyone we caught doing that. We did allow people who bought seedlings wholesale and grew them out for a period of time to resell them as larger plants, but that was the only exception. In the most extreme instance that I can remember, one guy kept coming back with resale vegetables until I backed my truck across his boxes. I was an officer of the assoc., and had the full support of everyone else. Of course these days, I probably would be arrested.
     
  8. Stephen in SOKY

    Stephen in SOKY Well-Known Member

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    We have 2 in our relatively small town. The 1 that allows ONLY locally produced items is far more succesful, even though the prices are somewhat higher. They make a big deal in their advertising about locally produced and it has really helped them.
     
  9. lovethefarm

    lovethefarm New Member

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    We are in Pa. Tionesta, to be exact. You all have given me such good imput. Thanks alot! I'm starting to get ideas!
    Jackie
     
  10. Marilyn

    Marilyn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I'm w/jnap -where are you? I love farmers' markets with locally grown/produced goods. Get the word out! You have a good idea with hours - people should be able to get there after work.
     
  11. jnap31

    jnap31 garden guy

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    Your welcome,
    As was said it is best to have only locally produced fruits/veggies crafts sold, at our market the president comes to inspect your farm once a year and takes photos to proove that your growing it all and not reselling, I would not participate in a market if it allowed non farmers or even farmers to truck things in from southern states, that would put me at a big disadvantage and ike they said folks want fresh locally grown produce.
     
  12. thebugguy

    thebugguy Not just another fungi

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    Just my two cents, but the absolutely number one reason I have never shopped regularly at a farmer's market (and we have an excellent one in town) are the insane "farmer's hours" most of them are open. Ours is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30PM to 6:30PM (fair enough, but generally that's when I want to get home and get dinner on the table and the worst time for traffic) or Saturdays from 7:30AM to 10:30AM. I don't know about you, but before I had children, there was flatly no way I was going to get out of bed at 7:00 in the morning on a Saturday to go grocery shopping. Now that I have young children and live 1/2 hour out of town, DW and I can barely make it in to town by 10:00AM, and it seems like most of the vendors pack up and leave after the first couple hours of business.

    I may be overly grumpy about this, but my advice is make the market CONVENIENT for shoppers and not some esoteric get-up-at-the-crack-of-dawn-first-day-of-fishing-season type of event.

    thebugguy
     
  13. River Rest

    River Rest Home-Insteader

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    I am a vendor at our local farmer's market. I sell produce, plants & my husbands hand crafted woodworking. All crafts must be juried. There are NO flea market type items allowed. Farmers must grow a percentage of what they sell. Artists & crafters must actually make what they sell.
    It draws a lot of vendors including farmers, artists, crafters, bakers. We had 2 coffee vendors this year. On occassion we also had a live band. Folks would come get a cup of coffee, a homemade fried apple pie or muffin, then shop for their produce & crafts.
    The market is open on Saturday & Wednesday 8am-12pm May through October.
    Here's a link to the website. We have a market manager that sees that the rules are kept & a board of directors

    Watauga County Farmers Market
     
  14. lovethefarm

    lovethefarm New Member

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    Thanks everyone! Your ideas are all great. Thanks for your time.....
     
  15. HilltopDaisy

    HilltopDaisy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    lovethefarm, you might want to look in the Gardening section of this board, there is a sticky at the top of the page for "market garden" .
     
  16. hengal

    hengal Well-Known Member

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    Advertise, advertise, advertise! I am the co-founder and market manager of a new farmers market in our town. This year was our first year and we averaged 12-14 vendors each Saturday. (Hrs Sat. 8:00 am - 12:00pm)
    On our board of directors we had one person who was in charge of advertising. She contacted several surrounding county newspapers. Some did articles on our new market and others added us to their weekly list of Farmers' Markets around the area, that was printed in the paper each Friday. We attracted both vendors and cutomers this way. Another thing we did was print up a tri-fold brochure with all the market information and contact numbers on it. We gave a bunch of these to area businesses who were happy to set them out on their counters for people to pick up...restaurants, banks, etc. They were easy to print out ourselves with a Microsoft Publisher program. Good luck!! If you have any other questions just let me know. :)