Our neighbor sells at the farmers market every Saturday. She weighs everything and charges a good price as she is organic. We have been thinking of going that route. Right now we are only selling from the farm. Pricing is the hard part right now. Since we don't have many customers we probably lose money but we are just beginning. Stay with tomatoes, corn, the usual. Most folks want those vegies. We are also selling all our eggs with no problem.
Farmers markets are great depending on the location, attitude
of local people about buying local products, and your aptitude for
Things to consider: Harvesting, loading, setting up (unloading at
site), time at market, loading to bring home, and unloading again, can take a
full 12 hours or more. If you come home with $100 in your pocket,
you have not made $100, as you also have the cost of transportation,
of seeds, bulbs, bags, your display, AND the labor it took to grow
the stuff or produce it (bakery, crafts, etc.)
What I am saying is it may not be as lucrative as you might think
on the surface, so really push the pencil.
On August 2, I still have not made enough in sales to pay for my
seeds, bulbs, soil mix, etc. from going to two markets a week.
This is a rural area, so the traffic isn't that great. The local people
don't want to spend the money for locally produced stuff, nor do
they want the inconvenience of making a stop other than the local
I still must continue to go, however, to salvage what I already have
invested in my crops. But, I will rethink the whole thing this winter, after
I have all my numbers to crunch.
Good luck. Markets can be fun and a social event, but may not be a real
money maker, unless you are in a high traffic area, where people value
freshness and perhaps sustainable/organic practices.
I can understand rural farmers markets not being extremely productive because as a country boy myself.... if I don't already have it then mom or dad does or the neighbors bring over stuff all the time so we're used to already getting fresh produce when we want it. I would be willing to say that's a fair overall statement.
In that situation I wouldn't even bother but I am 30 mins. south of Columbus, Ohio which is a fairly big metropolis for the midwest and is full of cityfolk so I thought that would be perfect for me to tap into because the drive time isn't great and I commute there for work everyday anyway. There are probably 5 markets all within 30-45 mins. from me in all directions. Thanks for the input.
I've been selling at a Farmer's Market for 7 years. Some things are profitable and easy to sell, and some things aren't. And it completely depends on the market, the other farmers, the shoppers, and your display and marketing skills. Do your research. Go to the markets and see what sells, but more importantly, talk to the managers and ask what sells out every week. What does the market need more of? Concentrate on those if you can produce them profitably.
I highly recomend the book "The New Farmer's Market." Pay close attention to the marketing and display chapters. Display makes all the difference in the world. It's the difference between a $200 day and a $500 day. That's produce. With veggie plants I can easily make $800 to $1200 a day in the spring. And that's doing all the work myself. There is a farm at our market that uses 4 interns and has been selling at market for 17 years. They make over $3000 on the busiest Saturdays. The potential is there. Its up to you to make it work.
One more thing. Only sell the best, tastiest, highest quality you can grow. Savy consumers are willing to pay for it. When I have Sun Gold cherry tomatoes for sale, there's a line of customers waiting outside my booth 10 minutes before market opens... And I don't sell them cheap!
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