Selling Flowers at Farmers' Market

glenntnJune 4, 2006

I wanted to sell cut flowers and fresh flower arrangements at our new farmers' market when it opened last month but didn't because I would miss the first three weeks. Yesterday was my first opportunity to visit the market. I was hooked and took the plunge. Signed up to start selling next Saturday and continue through October. Wondered if anyone had advice about which sells better--flowers by the stem or in bunches and a range of prices charged for each. The flowers I'll mainly be selling will be garden roses, hydrangeas, phlox, salvias and fillers. Thanks for any help.

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Tom1953(5)

Hi: We havea gal who sells cut flowers. She brings in what ever is in bloom at the time. Mostly she sells a mixed bunch. One nice story I want to share. An elderly couple was at the market for their weekly walk around. They never buy much but are there each Sat. Any ways, he was talking to our flower gal and she with some friends who had stopped by. He came up to her, she was in front of my booth, and handed her a beautiful bouquet of wildflowers. She looked at him and started to cry. "You remembered!" she said with tears in her aged face. " You remembered my wedding bouquet." They walked off slowly holdeing each others hand and gently giving each a small but heart felt kiss.
People don't come to markets with the thought of buying flowers for the vase, when they do buy it is purely en empluse, bring in what you see blooming, set up a nice display in mason jars or 2 liter bottle cut to the proper height. Alway keep some extra on hand to make up a special bunch for that special customer.
Good Luck and happy sales.
Tom

    Bookmark   June 4, 2006 at 11:21AM
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glenntn

What a beautiful story. Flowers are important for so many reasons.
I thought the first time I would bring some hydrangeas to sell per stem, some bouquets with mixed garden flowers and then a few vases and/or baskets with arrangements in them and see what sells the best. I guess the first few times especially will be trial and error. (Or trial and room for improvement.) That's a good idea to bring some extra jars or containers.
Thanks, Tom, for the help and encouragement.
Glenn

    Bookmark   June 6, 2006 at 9:03PM
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anniew(4-5/PA)

I think you should take both bunches and arrangements to market. Some people like to make their own designs, while others feel they are incapable of anything artistic and appreciate something put together by you. You can also offer to make custom bouquets from the bunches you have. Good luck with this new venture.
Ann

    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 9:59AM
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paveggie(z5-6)

If you haven't done so already, check out the Cut Flower forum. A number of vendors post there, not just home growers.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2006 at 10:53PM
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glenntn

Thanks, Ann and Paveggie. Last week was fun, and I learned a lot. I didn't get to make bouquets to take with me so I started by selling hydrangeas and roses by the stem.Had some perennials in bunches which I had planned to use in the bouquets. The perennials just sat there. No one was buying them. Mid-morning I took a couple of hydrangeas and started adding some perennials to them. Before I could finish people were wanting to buy the bouquet. So I made several more before running out of the fillers.
This week I plan on making more bouquets and arrangements to take with me.
Thanks for all the good advice.
Glenn

    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 7:15AM
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digit(ID/WA)

Here's an idea, Glenn. Make your bouquets the afternoon before the market and set them under a light overnight. We spread them out on our covered deck and a little 60 watt bulb shines down on them.

Flowers are alive and they will straighten and find room for themselves in the bouquet. An old joke amongst the arrangers in a greenhouse where I once worked was, "and how far back were you standing when you threw that together?"

The customers do enjoy seeing us work with the flowers but there really isn't time at the market. To compensate for this absence of entertainment, our bouquets have a much more finished look. Oh, they're still country-style bouquets (fittingly for a farmers' market, to my way of thinking) but simply having 8 or 10 hours to adjust themselves within the bouquet makes a great deal of difference.

I hope you've planted annual flowers for later in the season. For us, bouquets during August and September are the most popular. By that time we've got most of our flowers in full production and the market, itself, is in full swing. But, I also believe that as the flowering of yard perennials drop off, the customers develop more appreciation for the cut flowers available at the market.

Steve

    Bookmark   June 14, 2006 at 1:02PM
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moonblooms(z8 AL)

This is our second year selling cut flowers at the local outdoor market. The evening before the market, I put together bouquets with what ever we have picked that day or the day before. Sunflowers and zinnias always sell well. I mix in hydrangeas for color contrast, celosia and gomphrena for texture, and blackeyed susans for a filler. It's a very pretty and country arrangement. I put them in plastic sleeves and display them in plain black florist buckets.

Last week I sold out in 30 minutes.

I would recommend taking the time to arrange them in bouquets and using the plastic sleeves. They hold up better, especially when they're constantly being pulled out of the water and put back in. Designing the bouquets is the most enjoyable and creative part of working a farmer's market in my opinion. It also saves time if you are selling other items.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2006 at 2:01PM
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glenntn

Thanks, Steve and Moonblooms, for the suggestions. I'm off to cut hydrangeas, roses and fillers for tomorrow's market. Plan on letting them condition for 3-4 hours and then make the bouquets this afternoon/evening. Hadn't thought about the plastic sleeves protecting the bouquets, but you're right. I have a screen-in porch where they can stay tonight. Do you think the light from the outdoor light fixtures is sufficient?

Steve, I recently planted zinnias, cosmos, cleome, sunflowers, and snapdragons for later in the season. A little late to be starting them but our hot weather lasts into October. Next year I'll get started earlier...

    Bookmark   June 16, 2006 at 7:38AM
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digit(ID/WA)

Except for the screening (we get moth visitors to the bouquets) your situation is much the same as ours. Just a little light so they "know" where the sun is.

When we first started, more than a dozen years ago, all we grew were larkspur, calendula, snaps, and asters; with an odd perennial from our front yard thrown in. Worked!

A few years later, I was sometimes able to put a sign on the booth - Over 50 Varieties! Moonblooms has also given you some good ideas for late in your season. (I guess in zone 8 Alabama, it's already late? ;o)

Steve

    Bookmark   June 17, 2006 at 11:27AM
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