Friday, July 30, 2010

Tips For A Successful Farmers Market

To have a profitable season at the Farmers Market, you must advertise. I sent a query to the Knoxville News Sentinel about a Farmers Market article. We don't want the Knoxville residents to forget about all the delicious locally grown food and baked goods. I suggested writing an article about the Market and the individual vendors. I am working on another article for Rural Heritage Magazine which will include the vendors and their websites.They are all so interesting and many characters among them. It would be good to put out articles every few weeks to stimulate new market customers. We will especially need to advertise during the fall/winter as patronage drops off after school starts again. Many of the growers and bakers want to extend their selling time in the winter so we are looking for an enclosed place in Knoxville and Oakridge. This too will have to be aggressively advertised.
Another place to advertise is on Craigslist or any other local online advertising. I will list what we have to sell and give a discount to anybody who comes thru the craigslist add. It has generated customers.
Brochures are another good idea. These should be distributed in neighborhoods and businesses. I will be distributing them in health food stores, Quilt shops, Wellness Centers, Fitness Centers, Food-Co-ops, Churches, Dental Offices, Pediatric Offices, etc. Knocking on doors and handing them to homeowners is a good idea, too.
As always make sure your stand is attractive and that you have a neat and clean appearance. Don't look like you just came out of the fields ( even though you did). Grubby looking farmers do not make the food appetizing.
An attractive 4 x6 or 2 x 6 banner with your farm name, phone number, and website is very important, too. These can be purchased for about $50-$60. Some folks wear t-shirts, polos or aprons with their farm name.
One piece of equipment you must have is a digital scale. You plug in the price per pound and it gives the weight and total. Customers can see all this info. on the other side.
Of course you must have produce or baked goods that look good. Baked goods should be packaged neatly with your logo and ingredients. Produce must look fresh and clean. Attractive containers with your farm name looks really professional.
Be friendly, even if you feel dead tired and be ready to answer questions. Recipes are helpful for different food items that people may be unfamiliar with.
Farmers Markets have great potential for success and you will find your CSA customers there, too. Have a brochure made up of the foods you will offer, price and for how long. Monthly payment terms can be included. If you stay focused and work hard, you can reach your financial goals and

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