Farm stand operators at market

jhgardengal(5)April 9, 2012

What are your opinions of farm stand operators coming to farm markets if they only bring what they produce? I am opening a farm stand at my location and go to the local farm market on Saturdays. The managers have a rule that states you can't own/operate a farm stand and participate. What would it matter if you only bring to market what you produce/grow on your farm?

Please offer your opinions so I can keep this in perspective.

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little_minnie(zone 4a)

I didn't know anyone had a rule like that. From my perspective I would love that if our market had that rule but they don't. We have a huge farm store family that comes to market, sneaks in stuff they didn't grow with the stuff they did. We are a small market and they should sell elsewhere.
On the other side, if it is a big market with plenty of customers of course you should be able to sell. We all do lots of things to sell our produce- many have CSAs or do various kinds of selling.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 11:29PM
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Thanks little_minnie for your thoughts.

The rules already state that you have to grow 85-90% of what you bring and we are going to start farm tours to verify what people are growing. I totally agree with all of that because in the long run, it protects me also!

We do have a couple Farm Markets in the area that buy MUCH of what they sell at auctions and I think that is where this started.

The biggest problem I have with this rule is that the manager that put that rule in....sells out of his barn, but doesn't have a "farm stand", so he considers himself exempt. That, I have a problem with.

Like I said, I'm just trying to put all this into perspective and get ideas from other markets. I do appreciate your comments.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 11:42PM
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I think it is a conflict of interest, and not likely best for all concerned for the market manager to be a vendor, especially one who competes with other produce vendors.Having a farm stand and being a produce vendor should not be an issue if it's just that.

I wish that we could only sell stuff from our land or leased land. That's not the case here. A vendor can sell for two other certified producers and it really waters things down. It becomes an "If you can't beat them join them situation and I have recruited one Farmer to work with and might work with another.

The county inspects the fields at a date or dates of our choosing and certifies a statement we make about production.
That certificate listing all our farming has to be displayed at the market as well as do the certificates of the other two growers we sell for.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 10:23AM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Yes definitely a conflict of interest!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 10:48AM
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We had a market master that was also a vendor. He had definite problems with some vendors, not because of the vendors, but his prospective. When we finally got a non-vendor market master, things went much smoother.

As far as not being able to have farm stand AND be a vendor, that should NOT be a decision factor. You can definitely do both, some people not be open on market days and the produce picked between market days, go to the stand.

The certificates of origin (farm producing) is a good idea. I wouldn't have qualified, but could have easily enough, if my market required that.

Just my opinion.


    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 12:25PM
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A market master should be a non-seller of produce and not buddy up to any of the vendors to keep things on a level playing field. As far as selling at a farmers market and having an on location farm market also. I do this myself and can not see any reason why a market would not like it.
I grow my own stuff for the farmers market and grow about 90% of the stuff I sell at my home farm stand.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 2:08PM
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Thank you everyone for your insightful comments. This gives me some food for thought as we come up on our annual market meeting!


    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 10:04PM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

I can see having some kind of vendor size limit (no fatties LOL- j/k!) I mean size of their operation. There are some big greenhouse businesses around here that sometimes go to markets too. The guy next to me, who is as laid back as they come, says at one of his markets the Tomato King, whose greenhouse maters/salsas are in all the supermarkets, is a vendor. I was not cool with that. Chuck is like the honey badger, He Don't Care! LOL. Actually he says people buy the greenhouse maters early and when the real maters come out they only buy those. It draws people to the market he says, to have so much available. It still makes me rather angry. I have a real problem with taking advantage of the ignorance of consumers. They think those stands all over (here they are Untiedt's) are homegrown produce better than the grocery store, but it is not. People do not know about seasons and buying and selling. It is the market's responsilbility to bring the customer the best local and seasonal produce- the good stuff! and not let the big store-type vendors in.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 10:56PM
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BRAVO !! "Conflict of Interest" is right !! This is a subject that burns my wick at both ends !! At two of the markets I (grow it myself/vendor) go to, the market master is a vendor, he buys 90% plus of his produce (from across state line and from Lower Michigan), he sells from 2 or 3 roadside stands (not at his farm)7 days a week, he goes to 3 markets a week, he has hired help. Some times he buys produce (where ever) then sells part of it to another vendor at the same markets, they both sell the same %*@& !! at the sametime. At one market in another town, where he is also the market master, he drives right by the market (where all us vendors are setting up) he goes to the senor housing development's parking lot and sells for about an hour, then comes back just 5 min before the real market starts !! Our market has a rule "Signs for products sold must be displayed at the market and must be clearly labeled with the product origin, farm name, location of the farm, price, and how it's grown i.e. Certifed Naturally , Conventionally Grown,i.e. Non-compliance could result in disciplinary action and/or penalty". Notice the word "COULD" Ha Ha. The 2 vendors I'm talking about, almost Never have any kind of signage except a price sometimes on some things !! I'll be adding MORE to this later today, have to go out and do some transplanting.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 8:12AM
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little_minnie(zone 4a)

Ack that is so disturbing!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2012 at 8:44PM
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Unfortunately little minnie, that happens elsewhere.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 9:15AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)

At my hometown market, I am the market manager, market president/treasure/secretary and I am also the biggest vendor. Does that make me bad? I don't feel that I am bad. We developed some very simple rules, we all follow those rules and we enforce our rules. If I question anything, I talk to the vendor and if necessary make a farm visit.

I have never had to make a farm visit, but we are a smaller market (average 12-25 vendors a week).

At another market I attend in another town, we have people who you are talking about. They buy and resell anything they can get their hands on. I know they are buying rejects from a repacker, two hours away, and reselling it. If you want cheap, they are your ticket. Nothing is in coolers, nothing is shaded, no canopies, they just fill white vans with tables, produce and a worker or two. They must have huge waste. However more and more people are onto their game and quite buying their crap. They do grow stuff, usually poor quality. They also have many questionable workers, maybe illegals, who knows.

It isn't fun to compete with.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 11:21AM
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Hey, Jay, I drove a big white van.

I did buy from local growers, but then sorted and sorted again. I did have lots of waste, it became cow/pig/chicken food (the animals didn't care if it was blemished, the rot went to the compost pile).

Not all market masters/vendors are like what has been spoke about, but it does allow for some problems. You, as being one, need to stay 'above board', to make sure that you're not listed into that category. Of course, the bigger your market is, the more problems you will have.


    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 11:54AM
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Marla....... I think I saw your van... It's the one with duct tape, zip strips, jumper cables, lock picking set and a mask of Ronald Reagan in it, right??? LOL J/K

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 11:02AM
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I don't have the lock picking set or the Reagan mask. I do carry the rest of the stuff, you never know when you might need them. Actually I haven't used that van for a couple of years. I have 2 white vans, they do work well for this business, make sure they are 1ton vehicles.

Don't forget bungee cords. I use them for a lot of things.

Now, just an Astro and Blazer, down-sizing.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 11:58AM
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Jay, No' that doesn't make you bad. you seem to be one of the most down to earth men around, I have followed you (and many others) here and you on Highfarming for awhile now. YOU CARE !! I'm also the biggest (true/grow my own produce) vendor at all 4 markets I go to. Marla, I'm also very pickie about the way things look at my stand just like you. The husband/wife team that buys %*&@ drive a white van, it has a red door and a black one. It also is cut off like a pick-up truck and they pull behind an old pop-up camper for a trailer, no canvas on the sides, just the pop-up top. How about the other side of the market vendors? The Market is open for 3 hours,but we have 3 vendors "hobbie gargens" that take up 3 stalls for 1/2-3/4 of an hour each, that makes 3 stalls empty for over 2 hours b/c they leave saying "I sold out already" with a big smile on their face.(they did pay for the full season) It's nice for me and other vendors, these people don't give up, they been doing this for years.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2012 at 8:26PM
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Our biggest market in the area has a rule that vendors can't leave before end of market, except by special permission AND they have to pack everything out by hand (no vehicles moving within the market).

    Bookmark   April 14, 2012 at 5:03AM
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