I have been 50/50 on the thought of setting up at our local farmer’s market. The rules, regulation, and worry about “if” you’re actually going to sell what you bring and what people may think about your farm may run through your head. I’m here to reassure you, that if you are proud of what you raise/grow, then you will succeed!
I have secretly been stalking other farmer’s markets and seeing how people setup, what they have, and how they act. I have come up with an awesome list of “do’s and don’ts” for how to “rock” a farmer’s market! It is not just about your product and I’m here to help you pay a little extra attention to the details!
Tips for a Successful Farmer’s Market
Do Your Research Before Joining a Farmer’s Market
Research, Research, and more research! Read up on all guidelines, labeling requirements, temperatures ranges, and what permits you may need. I also recommend obtaining insurance to cover you if anything were to go wrong! Also, don’t be afraid to check out other local vendors and see what they are selling and pricing their items at. When it comes to farmer’s market… the idea of “competition” should never cross your mind. We are all in this together and never try to low ball the other person!
Farmer’s Market Aesthetics
Presentation and attention to detail will make you stand out! I watched shoppers completely bypass a vendor and walk right over to another vendor who was basically selling the exact same thing, but they had a nice looking setup. A tablecloth, little sign, and some farm decor just looks more welcoming and screams farmer’s market! Plus farm decor is in style these days and not that expensive if you know where to shop… cough-(hobby lobby).
Keep it Clean (and Cool)
Ok… so this one goes a little with step 2, but I feel like it really should be said. On one of my farmer’s market stake outs, I came across a vendor who was selling meat. The first thing that I did was check out their setup. They had a big chalk board sign, decent looking setup, and a grill for cooking up some of their meat! It didn’t look too bad, then I checked their cooler. The cooler wasn’t the cleanest and the meats appeared to have started to melt and the seal on the package appeared to have been compromised. I saw little to no ice and no thermometer inside the cooler. I don’t believe I’d want to purchase meat in conditions like this and feel like many wouldn’t as well.
If you are going to sell meats in a cooler, I’d recommend a good quality cooler and a digital thermometer inside it for the customers ease of mind. Placing ice that is left in the bag or freezer packs will help keep your meats at the appropriate temperature! Those helpful tips along with having a clean cooler will help your meat sales at a farmer’s market!
Don’t Be Pushy
Don’t be pushy! Pushy vendors will quickly make your leisurely farmer’s market walk into a mildly harassing experience. I recently walked through a rather large market and felt as if I couldn’t browse without being “encouraged” to approach each table. Soooo here’s the thing, most people want to browse first and then walk back over once they see what people have. It’s ok to say “hello” or “good morning” if someone stops to read your sign, but it’s not ok to seem pushy. If you follow steps 1-3 then most likely they will approach you!
Be proud of what you do and be honest in how you do it! On another occasion, I walked past another vendor who was selling “local produce,” now don’t get me wrong… I have no problem with this, but that particular produce was not actually in season… big sigh! People who shop at farmer’s markets want to know where their food comes from. They don’t expect you to have everything Walmart does and it’s ok!
Make a Connection
This one goes with Step 5… before I started doing the farmer’s market, I actually started doing short videos on what I’ll have at the market and actually show people my farm life! I want them to see where their produce comes from and how the animals are raised. Doing the videos of me in the garden or out with the livestock really helped build that connection! I wanted people to see what we are doing and learn about how/why we do what we do! I can’t tell you how many people came out to the market just because they saw my video!!
I really encourage you to try out your local market and with a little bit of tips, you could “Rock” your very own farmer’s market. Don’t forget to be proud of your farm life, your love for this lifestyle WILL show!
The Fancy Pig Farmer,