other vendors dropping out of the market next year

alan-in-calhoun-ilSeptember 20, 2010

Some good friends are going to stop market gardening next year. Wow I am going to miss them. they helped start the market 12 years ago and now they are just getting older and are going to slow down. I think that only leaves 6 of us originals left who remember what it was like when we started.

On a side note I also sell a flea/antique market on Sundays once a month. I still do well with peaches but now two other vendors come in and that really hurt my apple sales yesterday. I hope October is better their. They dont grow anything and are so cheap. they were selling 1/2 peck of apples for $5.00 and I was at $6.00 so I quickly dropped to $5.00 but it really didnt help. Hell they were selling Bananas and pineapples. It cost $75 to sell there and I sold 8 bu of apples. Not my best day ever.

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After the year that we all have had, I'm expecting some of the 'newer' vendors to drop out. I heard some people over the last few years state that 'they were going to 'do' the farmers market, since we (vendors) were making SO much money with SO little work'. I hope those people drop out, they are the type to undercut the prices of those vendors that are using the market for a income business.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 3:58PM
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Im with you on this everyone thinks its so easy to make money at this(if they havent tried it). I worked my butt off last weekend( I sold for 6 hours on sat and 9 hours on sunday) and sold the last of my peaches and some apples and made a total profit of $345 and I spent $100 of that taking my brother out to a movie and I bought a new school shirt.
My new money making project for this weekend is to have my 13 year old daughter paint faces on twelve pumpkins and see if I can get them sold. I will let you know how it woks out. Our market has lots of pumpkins so this is probably my only chance to make any money selling them.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 10:55AM
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We lost several newbie farmers already this year at market. I guess growing in record heat and humidity plus no rain since early July (after too much rain May and June). One newbie produce "farmer" (gardeners as they were growing in a back yard and did not have much at all) couple dropped out after 5 weeks.

Oh and not making a gazillion dollars every week at the farmers market must hurt as well

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 5:21AM
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In my area, the unemployment is so high that anyone that had alittle bit of ground was doing the farmers market. We've had some drop, unfortunately I wasn't able to even meet them since our stand at the market is so busy I didn't get away long enough to look them over.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 6:42AM
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Our market is worse than pathetic. We spend 75% of our time sitting and waiting for business. Last two weeks netted $39 and $59. It's not worth loading the truck for that. I've got beautiful green beans that I sell for only $1.25/lb, and one lady griped about having to snap them. Maybe I should cook and feed them to her as well. We have had only one new vendor this year, and two of the regulars gave up as well. In fact, we are now a market of only 5 vendors, and two of those only offer baked and canned goods. The funny thing is good garden produce is in really short supply this year too. I am the only one whose squash and pumpkins survived.


    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 10:42AM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)


Are your searching out a new market? With sales that low, I would be. However, in May I had a $10 and $25. HOWEVER, it was cold, rainy and just about nasty on both of those days! Not the best "Hey, let's go to the market and buy plants that might freeze!"

I have learned that you have to have a thick skin to last long in this business. You will always encounter those who say you are to high priced, produce is too big or too small, etc!

The best example of this was last June. I had some of if not the earliest tomatoes around. They were nice big slicers. I was asking $3.00 a pound. One gal picked up two or three and then asked how much, I told her and she laughed and dropped them and said I was charging too much. The next gal in line stepped right up and said "I will take two pounds of the overpriced, delicious, a month earlier than anyone else's tomatoes." I smiled, threw an extra one her way and finished out my day with a smile on my face.

The funny thing is, the other gal came back the next week and bought tomatoes!


    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 1:40PM
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Great stoy Jay. You made my day.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2010 at 5:04PM
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The thing about customers complaining is that they are the customers. I had one lady want 60 pounds of canning tomatoes and when I brought 60 pounds of seconds to the market for her she rejected those ans wanted 60 pounds of my best for canner price. she was one angry lady when I refused. she no longer buys anything from me and she was a good customer. My motto is if anyone complains for any reason I give them a bag of peaches. they feel taken care of and will come back. It sometimes hurts to give away something I know I can sell however in the long run I will make more by keeping the customers coming back. and yes you must have a thick skin because you cant please everyone.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 2:36PM
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Sorry to hear so many vendors didn't do well this season and others dropping out.

We had our best FM ever, in addition to our best year selling garden plants/seedlings from our greenhouse.

Our market is not that big . . . 7-10 vendors weekly . . . but the area seems to be coming round to realizing organically grown fresh produce, plants, fruits are worth paying extra than the "cheap" stuff at the grocery store that's been sitting around for who knows how long and traveling hundreds, if not thousands of miles.

For those who are discouraged you may try to get better organization next year, more advertising, maybe some entertainment also for the FMs.

We know how much work is involved with garden/farming and loading, setting up, and packing up for the FM, but for us it's been worth it.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 3:21PM
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jrslick (North Central Kansas, Zone 5B)


I am glad to hear you had a great market year too! I have had my best year ever. I still have another month of Farmers Markets, and another 2 months of Online Market Sales once a week.

My hometown market is really growing and gaining vendors. We have been averaging 12-20+ vendors all summer. As the market president, I have been doing everything I can to grow our market. I can really start to see those efforts pay off! I am also helping with the other market and it is growing too!

I have seen too many come and go vendors. Some people think that I make easy money! Until they do it themselves, they don't have a clue!

Sometimes selling at Market is the most relaxing time. All I have to do is sell, talk and have fun. No weeding, watering, planting, digging, running, mowing, stressing and wondering what is wrong.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 4:36PM
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We haven't had our best year this year, but it was just about the same as last year. We have over 1/2 way to our best year of sales. The best year, we didn't have near as many fellow vendors, so we basically had the market covered.

I never sell 2nds, they feed the livestock, and my customers know it. I'm certain to tell my customers what my standards are and that's why I ask for premium prices for my 'boxes'. I don't even call them 'canners'. My box price usually is 50 cents per lb less than the table price, but the customers must take a minimum of 25 lbs.

I will be back next year, and have already starting the planning stage. We have also started to prep some of the ground for a running start next spring.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2010 at 6:13PM
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I'm still here. I dropped out of "Farmers Markets" 10 years ago. For me it turned out to be the best decision for marketing produce I ever made. My gross weekly sales averaged $1600.00 this year from my semi-stand alone "Farm Stand". I'm on the go 7 days a week, selling from sun-up to sun-down, June through October. I have 5 acres that I use to supplement produce from two Amish Produce Auctions that I attend 3 times a week. This is truly a "Free Market" system of marketing, procurring, and growing produce. I no longer have to succumb to the politics and childish pricing personalities of "The Farmers Market". This allows me time and a clear head to work for the Amish and learn how to market and grow vegetables in the real world. With out their growing skills, knowledge and advice I would not have a job. This year I was able to purchase a 36 passenger bus, to haul produce to the auctions and return with a full load of needed produce. I offer one of the largest varieties of number one produce in the area at my roadside stand, which is located 10 feet from my five acres. Work-Work-Work.

    Bookmark   October 26, 2010 at 8:24PM
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Tony, I'm ready to do that. How far are you away from a good sized town? Are you on a highway or a busy road? Did you 'spread the word' before you left, or what? I have 2 more markets this year, but are SO ready to leave this 1 market and go elsewhere.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2010 at 8:13AM
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Sorry I did'nt get back to you sooner Marla. 5 miles to the east of my farm stand is a city of 10,000, 9 miles to the west is a town of 7,000, 15 miles south and 15 miles north are villages of approximately 5000 each, there are many small rural subdivisions within this area. This is a rural county of 55,000. I am located on a county highway at the edge of a village of 600, speed limit of 25 mph. I believe the speed limit really helps. The population of potential customers more than doubles with the tourist attractions and summer/lake homes within a 25 mile radius during the summer months. Visitors from over 15miles are common, with my base being inside the 15 miles. I did not spread the word when I discontinued attending farmers markets, I even supprised myself during the winter months when my vision of marketing produce completley erased "The Farm Market" approach. Come spring I no longer held a thought of going back and knew I had to market myself and my produce (do or die). To do it right there would not be time to do a little of each (quit cold turkey). It was my time and my money (win or lose). Of course it helps being a little stuborn. Today was the last amish produce auction for the season, froze hard at 25 last night. I came home tonight with a full bus load in 38 degree weather which I now have to sell (stuborn?). I still have a full-plate inventory on hand so will park the bus along side untill its all sold out and let old man winter put me out of business. Todays auction additions were 340 pounds of Mt. Fresh Tomatoes, 150 pounds of Kennenbec potatoes, 60 Butternut squash, 3 bushel (21 heads of cauliflower), 3-half bushels sm red beets, 9-half bushels XL& Med. sweet bell peppers, 4 bushel Lg. sweet bell peppers, 8-half bushel Lg. #1 Karin carrots, 8 half bushel #1 broccoli, 110 heads Lg. kraut cabbage, 15 bushel of Red Delicous, Cortland, McIntosh, Winsap apples all for $459.60 total. Me, Myself and I could never have done all that work for that price. Just loading my bus put this 64 year old in his place, not quite as ornery as I was when I started this 144 mile round trip. This load is about half as much as during the main season when I make 3 trips a week. In addition to this I have 20 Buff Orpington Roosters on ice on the bus that I had ordered for our own use in early summer. Now I need to start canning-small freezer here as we are trying to keep elect. costs down. Allso had to stop at the cheese factory... Very high winds here early part of this week. It finally took out 40 feet of my 75 feet of selling canopys on the second day-first time in four years. I spent half a day untangling twisted pipe/plastic. I will now finish the season partially under the stars. I hope this booklet revives your heart, mind and soul. tonytiller

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 12:44AM
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Thanks Tony, Today was our last farmers market for 2010. Boy, am I happy to see the end of 5 am mornings for awhile. I think we will continue with the farmers market for next year, providing the market doesn't change the rules TOO much, but we will be opening our farm up with a farm stand also. We will be able to conduct business at the farm more like we would like to, without the b.s. of the farmers market. I mentioned the idea to several customers today, with several being interested in the farm location. Now, we have to start planning 2011 season.

It's been very windy here also during the last week. I have a 20x20 canopy that is anchored with wooden stakes and wooden base around it. The top has been trying to blow off all week. The ball/bungees have been replaced once this summer already and I tried cable ties to hold the top on, but the cable ties just snap or the gromments just pull out. Another thing to decide on for next summer. I don't want to build a wooden shed just yet.

I'm also very stubborn, so the market will not run us out. My dad used to say, "I don't get mad, but I get even." And I believe it also.

I will continue this business because I really do enjoy doing this, and while I know I won't make it rich, I won't lose my shirt either.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2010 at 2:52PM
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sandy0225(z5 Indiana)

We bought one of those "all steel carports" for our farm stand, three years ago--one that's supposed to hold 2 cars. I think it's 20x26. We put wiggle wire track around the east and south sides and installed 70 shade cloth on that to block the wind and sun on the windy and sunny sides. It's open on the other sides.
That was the best investment I ever made. I think it was about $1500 but it stays put in the wind, rain, snow. We sell veggies under it all summer long, then this time of the year we have pallets of our potting soil for the greenhouse in there. If we take down some of the benches in there, there is room for my daughter to park her convertible in there too for the winter months.

Here is a link that might be useful: all steel carports

    Bookmark   November 4, 2010 at 8:38AM
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