10 Farmer's Market Tips

  • Follow the rules

    Before you even think about becoming a vendor at your local farmer's market, get to know the laws in your state, and the rules and regulations associated with the farmer's market. There may be restrictions on what you can and can't sell, and how your wares must be stored or displayed, for example. Do your research, and avoid potential problems.

  • Make it appealing

    At most farmer's markets, you'll be allowed to set up a 4x12-foot table, giving you 48 square feet of display space. You may be able to add another 10 to 12 square feet on the tailgate of your truck. Cover your table with a cloth, organize your produce, and work to make and keep your stand looking neat and tidy. Depending on your products and the market, you may earn $8 to $12 in sales per square foot per day.

  • Maintain high standards

    To attract and retain customers, sell only the highest quality produce you have to offer. If a customer isn't happy with their purchase, they won't come back, and chances are good they'll tell their friends. On the other hand, if they like what they buy, they'll be back!

  • Find your niche

    Chances are, there will be many vendors selling tomatoes, peppers, and corn. Try growing specialty or high-value crops like 2-foot-long Chinese cucumbers, specialty lettuces, or interesting looking heirloom vegetables. Exotic fruits and vegetables. Jicama, Belgian endive, bok choy, casaba melons, and mangoes will also draw people to your stand.

  • Go organic

    If you aren't already growing organic produce, give it a try. Many people who come to farmer's markets are looking specifically for organically grown items. Be sure to label your produce as organic!

  • Let your produce speak for itself

    Let shoppers get a taste of your produce and canned goods by offering samples. It's also a good idea to hand out some recipe ideas for using your produce, especially if it's not something buyers may have cooked with before.

  • Build anticipation

    Let your customers know what to expect as the season progresses. Use signs, flyers, and one-on-one conversations to tempt them with descriptions of crops you'll be selling later in the season. Tell them when to expect their favorite fruits and vegetables, and they'll be back!

  • The price is right

    Don't be afraid to price your produce on the high side. If your customers ask why your prices are higher than other vendors, tell them why. If your produce truly is better than the competition, customers will be willing to pay more for it, and they'll come back for more.

  • Make pricing simple

    List prices by unit, not weight. When customers see a basket of fruit or vegetables listed for a given price, they have a better idea of what to expect than if you list prices by the pound. Also, keep the amounts small. For example, if you're selling snow peas, customers may not want a whole pound, even if the price is only $4. Package them in pre-weighed quarter-pound packages for $1 apiece, and you'll likely sell more.

  • Brand your stand!

    If your farm has a name, have a large sign made. Customers will remember your sign and name, and will know how to find you at the next farmer's market. You can also have stickers printed with your farm name and contact information (start a Facebook page if you don't already have one!). Place stickers on baskets and bags that go home with customers.

Earn some extra income by selling produce this summer!

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