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Problem finding market

Posted by ajsmama (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 10, 13 at 13:06

As mentioned on cost-cutting thread, I have had a hard time marketing my produce. Market I have been at for 2 years had no parking though on a busy street, cut out the Wed markets during July last year (not that I had anything to bring in 2011, but I was counting on it for 2012), and I only sold about $50/week (with an occasional better week, but some worse ones too early in June and Labor day).

I've been looking for a new market, but just was notified (again) the one I've been on waiting list for past couple of years ha no openings for "green" vendor. I was hoping with large organic farm up the road from them moving (going out of business?) this year that they might have space.

So, the closest markets to me are (in no particular order since it's a question of which one is the least-worse choice, not the best choice):

1. Market I have been at, under new management, may be moving location and day, I have not heard anything from new MM so complete unknown but fees had been only $125 for fairly long season, June 1 til mid-Oct (20 weeks), I did unexpectedly well in June last year with salad greens and my late season tomatoes were the biggest sellers so I like the long season.

2. New market (started 2011) at YMCA, pretty good parking, but I hear you really only get YMCA traffic since parking isn't enough to support Y members AND people stopping by for market, plus a small vendor area right at the front door, they want 15 vendors but as o a week or so ago they only had 3, reports from other farmers were that sales were disappointing (but they do multiple markets, this may just have been the smallest one, I'm pretty small-time so maybe if big guys drop out I have a chance?) Only $95, but need to get food-stamp certified, and only 12-week season from late June to mid Sept.

3. Market just a couple of miles away from #2, but set up on asphalt, good traffic (but I think farmstand across the street benefits more from having market there since he doesn't have to pay fees but gets traffic - most of which is heading on his side that time of night, no need to make a left). Started in 2011, but fees doubled to $200 in 2012 (staying the same for 2013?) for only 15 week season (mid June to late Sept).

My other options are to try to increase on-farm sales (but I have no frontage, off a cul de sac and a 700ft driveway). I can put up signs on a main road (state highway, non-divided) 1/2 mile from us. I have a couple of steady customers at DH's work (1 of whom buys $30 of tomatoes each week when I have them), but sales there are limited by his ability to bring produce in for people and keeping it cool during the work day. We are located in a blue collar neighborhood in a somewhat rural area (many have small gardens on 1 acre lots), I can sell some things people don't have room to grow but tomatoes (my biggest seller at market) is not one of them.

The kids go to school in a more affluent town (where Y is located) but I have not gotten any parents to buy anything yet even though I have talked it up, and given tomato seedlings in labeled pots to 2nd grade class last year after doing a unit on soil structure and plant life cycle in class. People there have bigger lots but I don't know how many garden, there is a town-owned farm in town (among others) that offers a CSA, but that just cut number of subscribers and raised costs, there may be an opportunity there but there are other family farms closer to center of town that have farm stands. The town tries to promote agriculture by putting together a "sampler" but last year I tried to supply new potatoes, didn't have enough to fill their boxes and I ended up selling them for $1 more per lb than what town offered me at market. Also concerns about packing - lots of subscribers complained about bruised/wilted produce, I wouldn't supply tomatoes to them, not sure about greens, edamame, beans I'm planning on growing this year, though I'm sure it's good publicity it may not be good PR if not handled correctly.

I've had a loss 2 years running, I really need to make a profit this year to avoid IRS declaring this a hobby, so what can I do for market?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Problem finding market

Have you looked here?
http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/

You'll need to choose your state, CT as 16 pages of markets, then contact everyone near you.

That's how I've found some in the past. Of course, some information may be out-of=date, but usually that person knows who to get ahold of.


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RE: Problem finding market

I've looked on state ag website, there isn't a lot near me. Couple of new ones started up last year but gave up right away. Lack of customers they said. The one I went to only had a permit for 4 events so were trying once a month, the first month they had no one, 2nd month I found out and went (and sold $40 worth), after that they canceled. The other one was weekly on Sat mornings but I think the problem with that was they were off a back road at the "town farm" and it took a while for people to realize they were there selling organic produce (I never heard whether they'd take someone who wasn't farming that land), and there is another market on Thurs nights in same town. The problem with the once a month one was simply that no one knew WHEN it was going to be even if they had seen WHERE it was (on a main road).


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RE: Problem finding market

The problem with any new market is getting customers and vendors. Without customers, the vendors will quit and without vendors, you don't get customers.

If you get last past the first year, then people will start to find you. One of my markets has been around for over 165 years and people still don't know about it. Another one, very small rural town, has been going on since 2001 and it advertises all over the county, it's just really getting going this last year or so.


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The one I was in is the oldest one around the 20-25 mile radius here - though the 5 yr old one I couldn't get into seems to be doing well. A 4 yr old one (the Thurs night one in same town as the failed organic market on the town farm) looks like it's doing OK, fees last year were $150 and they said they might be going up this year, I stopped by last year and really didn't like the location (small "green" off a courtyard in strip mall area off main street), they were $150 last year (forget how many weeks) and said they might be going up this year.

I think farmer's markets have just caught on here b/c until recently this was a pretty rural area and people grew their own (or had a neighbor with excess). And I won't drive into urban area even if it's within 20 miles. Esp. not with people thinking I may have $100's in cash on me.


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The urban areas are where you'll find the sales. I never kept more than $100 on me at any time. Plus if anyone tried to steal it, they would get $10/quarters $5/dime $2/nickles $32/ones and $50/fives. I never started the day with more than $5 bills. Any $20s that I got, went right into my front pocket, and believe me, I would feel anyone in that pocket. LOL.


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RE: Problem finding market

Doesn't matter how much you actually have on you, or where you carry it. It's how much someone thinks you have, or what they're willing to commit violence for. I never started with more than $60 (would ask another vendor for change if I ran out of small bills), never had more than $150 on me at end of best day but could get shot for much less.


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RE: Problem finding market

I have always thought about robbery as an issue, but i have never put much thought into it. When I have time, I do take most of the large bills out of the cash drawer and put them in my truck. If something else is fairly thick, I do the same.

Jay


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RE: Problem finding market

In our years of marketing only once have we had a situation where I thought we were going to have a problem with robbery - and that was through carelessness. We were unpacking early morning at one of our Saturday markets in a fairly good sized town (somewhere upwards of 100,000). Kathy and I were hauling from the trailer to the booth and Dad was setting up. Somehow, the cash box was left sitting on the front table. Dad got distracted by another vendor (they sell baked goods and were setting out sweet rolls) so he wobbled over to get one. Just as he did a fellow walked past the table and saw it. He had his back to me and did not see me about 30 feet behind him. He stopped, looked to the left and the right then turned to see me. We made eye contact and both knew what each was thinking. It only took a second but he knew better and stepped to his right and away from the table. I gave him that squinty eyed grin saying I know, you know and now we both know and he just walked away. That was all there was to it. I have a great deal of respect for my Dad but I chewed him a new one (perhaps not my finest hour) later for his actions. It was just a spot where inattention almost bit us. The rolls were good, though. Other than that (knock on wood) we have not had problems. As most of the time the trucks are parked away from the stand putting extra cash in them is a no-go. I have slipped bills into a sack and put them into one of the coolers on occasion but that was more of a wind issue than one of security.

We carry quite a bit of start-off change in the cash boxes - somewhere around $200 on average - but I do not know how many times someone has dropped a $50 or $100 bill on us right out of the gate. At our downtown market it is not too big of an issue as there is a bank right there so someone can run over for change if needed but out at the college I'm pretty much on my own. I ran short several times last year of ones but was able to get by (once things turned and several people paid with ones, another time I was able to get some from another vendor). I've also been on the other side of the coin and helped vendors that needed change. We are lucky that we have a pretty good bunch of vendors that will help each other out in a pinch. At the end of the day we are carrying a lot of cash around, that does make me a little apprehensive at times. We secure them for transport and make a deliberate effort to make a bank deposit as soon as possible.

Marla's right about vendors and customers - it's chicken and egg. However, it has been our experience that the larger the town the greater the sales. It's simple math - 1% of 100,000 is greater than 1% of 10,000. More people, more sales. Don't be afraid of the market on the asphalt. Granted it's not ideal but if you prepare correctly it's not so bad. Two of our markets are on hard surfaces (one an asphalt street, the other on a concrete parking lot with not a lick of shade). But if that's where the customers are that's where you have to be.

Tom


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It's not really the asphalt that bothers me (though other vendors have told me it just gets super hot there), it's the $200 fee. It's a nonprofit, I don't know why they doubled their fees the 2nd year. I think they get more traffic than the one at the Y, but their season is only 3 weeks longer and the fees are twice as much?? And even with the traffic, I don't know if sales are that great b/c of the farm stand across the road (where all the commuters coming home from work can just make a right in and a right out, he's got decent parking too).

I'm just not comfortable marketing (esp. tearing down at dusk by myself with day's income in the box or my fanny pack) in Hartford/Bloomfield. There are a lot of times I've been the last or almost last at market b/c I'm doing it by myself. I went to grad school in Hartford and the parking lot was fenced, patrolled, I was still nervous (night classes), there are definitely streets I would not drive down (heck, there are streets DH won't drive down during the day even if they are direct routes to state highways coming out our way). Not as bad as Chicago or Camden NJ but not a place I want to be alone after dark with a cash box.


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RE: Problem finding market

I'm really thinking of trying LocallyGrown as Jay suggested - it's free, with only 3% commission (much less than Local Harvest). Now need some suggestions for good names for the "market" - best to use location in name to help customers find us? Problem is, we're in no man's land on the county line at intersection of 3 towns (we're in 2 towns, and I'm thinking my cousin in another town who has chickens may want to join, another cousin in yet another town who grows conventionally may also join)?

Just name it "Northwest Hills" market and use the zip code of the more affluent town (that I actually live in)?


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RE: Problem finding market

Hey Sheila, you keep calling your area 'No Man's Land", how about playing on that like "No Man's Garden" or something like that? Or Tri-Cities. or 'Me and my cousin's gardens'?

I use the zip code of the closest town, I'm 4 miles from it, but 12 miles from my postal town.


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I thought about that name, but was afraid no one would have a clue where it was!

Love to use "(family name) Farms" but my other cousin already registered that for his landscaping business. Maybe "One Big Happy Family" market? Though not like the "Athens GA" or other Locally Grown names that are more geographic...

I bumped into a chef in grocery store, he told me who to contact about new old market and also mentioned that there was talk about starting a new market in the same town (?) as the Sunday one that's full, a couple of miles away. Not the same cachet since it's not in historic district, but maybe I can get in. He didn't have contact for that, but said call town hall.

That would be great!


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Does anyone know if it is possible to get a permit to have a roadside spot to park and sell? My gram did that and sold almost all from that. I have thought the right spot would be the best market of all if you were there very regularly.


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RE: Problem finding market

Around here, you don't need a permit, just permission from the land owner. You would need to check with the county that you're looking at to see if they have vendor permits (some of our counties do and others don't).

I contacted a martket that I attended about 10 years ago, found out that they are full for this year. they suggested being put on the waiting list, I declined and mentioned that 'maybe next year'. They emailed back and asked me to fill out the application so that they could contact me earlier in the year next year. We may have to start contacting these markets a year in advance, specially for the successful markets that everyone wants to be in.


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RE: Problem finding market

I've been on the waiting list since 2011 for the Sunday market, contacted them in fall of 2012 for 2013 market. They told me a few weeks ago they might have room if their (non-strawberry) berry vendor drops out, but I guess she must not have. I think they're offering spots first to returning vendors (only 15? 10 other their website and only 2-3 are veggies, 1 I thought was moving out of town) before going to the waiting list.

The rumor about new market in that town is a rumor - called Zoning and they didn't know a thing about new market or moving the old one.

Now to email the person I was told knew details of my "old home" market...


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RE: Problem finding market

How many miles are you away from a major market, like Hartford or Trumbull? Maybe put out some flyers for a produce delivery service 1-2 days per week.

We have 1 bus that travels around setting up in different areas of our capitol city, I think they stop at a different area each day, and visits 2-3 areas per day.


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RE: Problem finding market

Parts of Hartford ware within 20-25 miles (like Wilson - part of Windsor, I had to look that market up b/c I had never heard of Wilson). But I just will not go there - not only personal safety, but I'm a little worried about driving pickup with produce.etc. in the back on highway at 60 mph in case something falls out.

Trumbull is over 60 miles 1 way.

I'd like to call the Locally Grown "market" Tri-town market (there was a Tri-Town Grocery in 1 town we lived near as newlyweds) but it's a little misleading too since I can actually deliver to 5 or more towns in a 10-mile radius (wish they had markets, or openings, in all of them). I have property in 2 of them, 1 cousin with eggs in another, great-uncle/cousin with large garden/small farm, blueberries, goats in yet another, and parents in a 5th, we could deliver to all those towns and maybe 2-3 more. I may be middle of nowhere but I'm pretty centrally located, and I've got a mess of cousins LOL.


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I guess if DH can get more people to order at work, I could drive in (use his parking permit) on 1 of the 2 days he's telecommuting to deliver end of day to people, they would have to look for me in parking lot. He can also deliver small amounts (not highly perishable things) on the 3 days he's in the office, they'd just have to bring coolers or something.


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RE: Problem finding market

You could use coolers and tarp over the top of everything, use silver and it'll help keep the heat out.

60-80 miles is what I'm thinking for a major city.

Once you get 1/2 or more of what customers you want, the rest will appear when those people bring their produce inside. Tell them to bring coolers with ice to help their stuff cool.


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It is strange to hear that you have to apply to be at a market. At all the markets I attend, you want to be a vendor, you show up, set up a booth, pay the fees and you are in.

I do know about another market that you have to apply to attend. If they already sell what you have, you can't sell it. To me this is a monopoly and isn't fair for vendors or customers. More choices brings more customers. Let the customers decide who's stuff is the best.

Jay


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Well, there was 1 guy who approached DH when he saw/heard he was delivering to the other 2 (esp. all those tomatoes!). Said "I hear you've got a big garden - I'll take any excess you have" implying for free. DH told him I was starting up the family farm again, never heard anything more from him about wanting anything...

I just don't grow enough to justify the gas (at 14mpg) to drive 120 miles roundtrip. That's $34/day in gas, plus market fees (hopefully parking is free). The Hartford Regional Market is for big guys - ones that actually buy at auctions and resell (not local producer-only). I don't know how Wilson or any other that aren't downtown Hartford do.

I just sent email to market number #3 asking about space this year, we'll see i I hear back from old market (#1). I don't think I'm going to do market #2 (YMCA) - just too short a season and maybe not enough traffic, even if fees are low.

Do you think that if I'm one of only 3 veggie growers at market #1, and this is my 3rd year (didn't even go til mid-Aug in 2011, it was such a wet year it was a disaster), that I might do better? If they have it the same place parking is a problem, but it's been there for (more than 5) years and people know where it is, if they don't mess too much with the hours (last year changed to start 1 hr earlier - without telling all the vendors!) and do better advertising (we've got a new paper in town, that's who I was told to contact) it might do better? And I was starting to see the same people week after week...


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RE: Problem finding market

Jay - crossing posts. I guess all the markets are so limited on space they have to choose how many of what type of vendors they want, mostly 1st come 1st serve but as I said this one (maybe all) contact the previous year's vendors and offer them spaces first. Some markets do part-season or by-the-week booth rentals, but give preference to full-season vendors.

How many vendors do your markets typically have? Here it looks like they shoot for 12-15. Most producer-only, some allow crafts/food service (like Italian Ice) others don't.


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RE: Problem finding market

We have SO many people doing the large garden thing and thinking that they will sell their excess and the markets only have SO much space that they have to limit the number of vendors. Maybe it's not that way in your area, but it is in most of Indiana.

Our markets usually can handle between 30-80 vendors and those vendors have most of the spaces locked up and have since 2004-2005.


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RE: Problem finding market

Wow - maybe the urban markets have that many vendors, but I've never been to a market with more than 20 or so vendors. Gotta think what the largest one around here is - maybe not over 20...?

Of course, at market #1 they had Italian Ice guy (just a couple of times), 1 guy with "homemade" jams and pickles (I think he must have had commercial kitchen, he wasn't a farmer), he only came a couple of times, but we had 2 bakeries that were regulars, 1 of the produce vendors sold mostly canned goods (she did have a commercial kitchen too, I am the only one who didn't) but also herbs and some carrots, etc. The (former) MM had the big farms, sold not only jams, relishes, pickles (Comm. kitchen) but potatoes, corn, tomatoes. Local poultry/fish place too. Then we had olive oil/vinegar company, for a short time we had salsa company, couple of woodcrafters.

#2 (YMCA) was trying for all fresh local produce, no crafts, but I saw local comic book store there (?), sponsoring pharmacy had an info booth (no sales), salsa was there, maple syrup, goat cheese.

#3 I think had a couple of crafters, though more farmers (6?) than other 2.

Thurs night one only had a dozen or so, one of them was maple syrup (also sold produce), another was smoothies, goat place (soap, cheese) was there, I'm not sure since I only went once last year but maybe a bookstore?

Sun one has cut flowers, berries (2 vendors?), 1 regular farmer, 1 organic farm, maple syrup (only, this sugar house doesn't grow veggies), 1 dip/spread/sauce ("Garlic Headz") processor, yarn crafter, soap maker, bakery, and 1 that link on their website says is beef though I don't remember seeing them last year. Looks like they don't want ANY overlap, willing to make exception for organic vs non-organic veggies, and 1 berry vendor has strawberries (and cukes, and Xmas trees, according to their website), other has bramble berries (but no blueberries, at least not 2 years ago, she wanted me to share her table and they said no). They've got a really small space though.


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A market NEEDS some overlap, Most of our successful markets have a minimum of 10-15 vegetable people 3-5 fruit people and a few crafters. We also have at least 2-3 bee people, a couple of cheese people, 3-5 meat people.

This give customers a chance to compare vendors and be able to choose. Without choice markets will fail.


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At my Saturday hometown market we average 12-14 vendors over the last two years. Our market runs from the first Saturday in May until the last Saturday in October. We have had as few as 5 (early in the year) to as many as 33.

At my Wednesday market, in a larger town, they will have about 8 to 18 vendors. There are 6 large vendor(including me) that are there every week, rain or shine. In this same town at the Saturday market they will have 35-45 plus during the summer.

Jay


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Jay that sounds very naive that people could just show up and try to sell. Very disorganized. At our market we aren't letting more produce vendors in but also are glutted with preserves and baked goods. We have 4 large produce vendors and 3 smaller plus another with canning toms and cucs. We have 22 total available spots. Only 1 meat vendor now. Lots of baked goods and preserves as I said. Some maple syrup, BBQ sauce, plants, soap, crafts.

My problem of today is this: every year for the last 2 years the town I live in has tried to have a market. The market has been pathetic even though Friday night on a major highway. So I got an application sent to me today and they are moving it to the beach parking lot (1 mile down my street) and having a free concert afterwards (great) but they are moving it to Thursday at the SAME TIME AS THE TWO CLOSEST TOWNS. How stupid. I sent an email immediately to complain to the manager. It is all city run and annoying. I am upset about a possible drop in customers for us but more upset about losing the option to ever sell there if it does turn out better because it is the same day!


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Actually, the market is extremely organized. There are more rules, by-laws, standing rules than you know what to do with! Our meetings are very disorganized, but that is just another issue. It is one of the oldest markets in Kansas.

Jay


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Haven't heard back about market #1 - no one seems to know what's going on, it may not happen this year. Market #3 (the expensive one - they have 90% going to library, I don't know why they had to double their fees last year!) is "encouraging" me to put in an application, though they're not saying whether they have room. They did say all their growers are "green growers" so they encourage competition (I've been there and seen it - there may be TOO much competition for li'l ole me, big certified organic farm is there, along with more conventional growers than I've seen at the other markets). They only try to restrict crafters.

Insurance is $50 for certificate, if I sell online there's no additional insured (ay, can you confirm that Locally Grown doesn't need to be named?), so I'd save that plus the $200 market fee plus the $100 in gas over 15 weeks if I just sell online.

So should I go with market #2 ($95 plus WIC certification, PITA ruies about getting there 1.5 hrs early and stayin the whole time, only 12 weeks and not much traffic, but not much competition), market #3 ($200, no WIC -yet- only 30 minutes before market required, and 15 weeks) and/or LocallyGrown (3% of sales)? I can only do 1 market, won't do both of these (2 miles and 1 day apart).

Market #3 doesn't say if you can leave early if you sell out, but I don't often sell out, if I do (or close to it) and really want to leave (say it's Brownie night, they don't usually meet during summer but I might have a meeting in Sept) I would ask the manager if I could leave to pick DD up from Brownies (assuming DH has brought her to meeting).

New "upscale" Chinese place opening in town next door to health food store that was buying my "imperfects" last year, so I'm going to stop in and ask if/what they want local produce. Would you charge a restaurant smaller or larger % than grocery customer (I was charging butcher shop $2.50/lb for all my perfect tomatoes that I would sell for $3-$4/lb at market, the health food store was getting imperfects for $1/lb)?


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I don't have any product liability insurance. I guess that is my fault, I have never even looked into it. At the markets I attend, I don't know of anyone who has it. I will start asking around about it.

Locally grown doesn't have an insurance requirement.

Jay


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RE: Problem finding market

Whoa, all the markets around here require it! I'm suprised yours doesn't. It's not just product liability, it general liability too - like if your EZ Up gets carried away by the wind and hits someone/thing, or causes a traffic accident (all the markets I listed above are near roads and/or parking lots).


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RE: Problem finding market

Most of our markets require some kind of insurance, only the small ones that have no rules don't. I think they assume that you have it. Most need general liability, or a rider on your homeowners. Unless you are selling a prepared food, do you need the product liability (at least here).


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RE: Problem finding market

Even if state or market doesn't require it, I'd get the product liability. Jay's jellies are safe, but what if someone claimed they got e. coli from salad greens?

Our homeowners (USAA) not only said they wouldn't cover general or product liability if I was selling at market, they dropped DH's umbrella policy. They did agree to keep the truck on the auto policy as long as I didn't have the farm name on it.


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Jellies are just as dangerous as greens. All it takes is someone don't preparing it right. I know you don't have to process jellies, just have it hot enough to seal the lids, I've got some with mold on the inside AND the lid was sealed.


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Yeah, you'd think people would throw it out (or bring it back) if it was moldy. Now pickles, salsa, other acidified foods (even pepper jelly) - that's where it can be dangerous if you don't know what you're doing.


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So many people don't have the common sense that we were grown up with. Of course, when we all had common sense, people weren't so "sue happy' either.

To me, the people that try to water bath items that are now recommended only for 'pressure canning' are the dangerous ones. I used to water bath green beans before I learned to use a pressure canners In the olden days, most people didn't have pressure canners or used them.


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RE: Problem finding market

Our market in our big city has a liability insurance policy for the market. For general Liability, we are covered.

For the market in our hometown, we are covered under the cities general liability policy. Since the market is on city property, that is what they tell us ever year. We have to formally ask every year to use the location.

Everywhere is different.


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Market #1 was on city property, so is the Sunday one that doesn't have room for more than 1 type of vendor. Neither would cover us - you have to name the city as insured. Nice taxpayers in KS covering the vendors! But I'd still look into product liability - as Marla said, people are sue-happy.

I haven't heard back from Market #1 (land trust, you'd think at least they'd get back to me and say "contact the library")

So, the only markets around here that have room are #2 and #3 - and if I want to get into #3 I better apply soon! Which one should I go with, should I do Locally Grown as well or instead of a market?

Thanks

Not to ignore you minnie but if I could think of a place by the side of the road that wouldn't be a hazard for people parking, I'd ask about it.


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Our big market is also ran by the city, with city employees as market master, director and everyone else. We still had to have general liability insurance, our city would not cover any accident except caused directly by their employees or the street/sidewalk that the market was on.

Plus to be a vendor, we as vendor could not help any person sue the city for anything, nor could we use the city or any surrounding business for any fault of theirs.


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I think the markets here assume you get insurance but they don't require it. I do plan on trying to get some before the season starts. I had a scare recently of a stupid customer who wasn't upset or anything, it just was that she was so stupid. PLus I might switch to a market next year that requires it.


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Any opinions on which market I should apply for - the larger, more trafficked on on main road, more expensive, but 15 weeks, also more competition, or the smaller one at the YMCA in my home town (that looks like it's having trouble finding vendors, less competition but I wonder if they're even going to be in business next year), YMCA member traffic only, more restrictive rules, but half the price for 12 weeks? Either of them?? I'd like to get application in today.

Thanks


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I would rather sell at a market that has more competition and more customers vs a market that has very little competition and a very little customer base. From what I have read it sound's like your biggest challenge with your produce is getting it sold. If the small markets aren't working for you because there aren't enough customers then it might be time to try something new.


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Personally I would go with more customers. Yes it will cost more, but you will also make more.

Also, I would start the Locally grown market. Then you can promote it and start building that part of your business. I have been doing the online market for 3 years and I am just getting to the point that I have enough repeat customers. I have some that will order every other month and some who order every week. You need more weekly customers to make it work well.

Jay


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Thanks - larger market wanted money and insurance certificate with application, I emailed them asking if they would hold my check until they guaranteed the space (since this is nonprofit run by volunteers I wanted to make sure 1 person didn't cash the check while another collected names & decided who to give space to!). Also asked if I could wait and have certificate sent to them after I was approved since it will cost me $50 to get certificate.

I hope this didn't come across too much as PITA, but they also wanted "specific items to be sold" - so I started typing out a list of all my seeds for them, said in email

"Some are guaranteed spots in the beds, but others I am not sure would be good sellers based on sales at X market last year, though they might be in yours. If you have any "must haves" please indicate those in your reply and I will be sure to plant those. Of course, I cannot guarantee that everything I plant will make it to market due to weather, pests, or disease losses."

I also found last year that I didn't quite have enough of some things to support 2 markets, but I had enough of others (esp. tomatoes) to sell wholesale and to sell to people at DH's work, either the next day (leftovers) or midweek (with 3-4 days to go til next market!). So online orders, in addition to the Thurs/Fri deliveries at work and weekend farmstand, might work out well with a Wed night market. Last year was tough with Fri AM orders going to work and Fri night market. Of course I can do "preorders" to deliver at market too, that might work out esp. well with things in short supply, or eggs that need to be kept cool (if they pick up at the beginning of market).

Oh, I just got email from town Ag commission - they're updating the farm map and want $25 to add (or keep) a farm, to go towards printing costs. I don't think I can get on the online map without being on print, though I MAY be able to get listed on website without being on the map (they haven't updated the listings yet). Think it's worth it since I'm on the outskirts of town? They'd have to redraw the map since they don't go far enough west to show the main road that I have frontage on (in another town). I don't want them to add a circle with a vague location on my "official" address where I don't have frontage. Everyone would get confused like the tax assessor did when they came out to see the house after we built!


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RE: Problem finding market

If you are in the boonies, definitely get on the map, if you can afford it. It should pay for itself. but if the map doesn't include the entire map to your place, then NO.

I would say go to the larger market, just watch what other vendors are charging. When I went to the State capitol market, I thought 3/$2 for onion bunches, but later I found out that everyone else was charging $2 per bunch. I could have made 3x the money if I had only looked around.


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RE: Problem finding market

The other market is being very accommodating, told me $50 for a certificate is a ripoff (but I don't know how to get around it). They will wait until they guarantee me a spot for the certificate and the fee.

Some pix on their website from last year (or year before), Cherokee Purples (either "no spray farm up the road from me or the certified organic next town over?) for $5/lb! And I was having some people at old market complain about $4/lb!

Ag commission said since I am a taxpayer, they will revise map to actually show route to my farm. There is another farm in a different town who must pay to be on the map (he grew up in our town and his dad started the sugar house there, so they list both locations), he's just north of me and they have a vague dot (number 29) on the map for him without showing state Rte 179 he's on, so I was concerned I'd just have some dot in the bottom left corner of the page.

I wonder how many they're going to print since you can print from the website? Anyway, worth it just to be added to the website - we're first on the list for Open Farm Day, just have to get the listing on the page with all the other farms - and they were supposed to have descriptions, not just links to local newspaper "interviews" that some of them have done.

Hmm, the farm will have been in my family 100 years next month - maybe I should call for an interview?

Here is a link that might be useful: Farm map


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RE: Problem finding market

Yes, play on the ancestral part. Any free advertising is worth much more than it costs you.

If you will be shown on the map, it is worth it. I only wish I had that option. I'd print off several to keep my stand, or post everywhere I could (with your farm circled).

If they want to be additional insured, then the $50 is needed. And I thing the company that I was with charged about the same amount.

That pic might have been during the earliest part of market, I know there is 1 vendor that prices their stuff like that for the first month or so, but then drops quickly down to the average of the rest of the vendors. I know in Indianapolis, tomatoes was going for $5-6/lb last year, with the drought and all, the vendors got it.


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