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No more farmers market for me.

Posted by myfamilysfarm 5b (My Page) on
Mon, May 2, 11 at 17:09

After jumping thru the hoops that my farmers market required, I just received a letter stating that I don't meet the requirements to continue there after 12 years.

Last year, hubby's health took a turn for the worse and we needed help to supply the quality produce that our customers demanded. We still produce 50%+ of all produce and plants for the season.

This year, the market has decided that everyone needed to produce 70% of everything they sold, based on $$ of produce offered for sale. They also required that we furnished receipts for seeds (which I provided all of this year's seeds).

The bad thing is we have had 2 mini markets over the last 2 weeks and nothing was mentioned. Even today, when I personally went into the manager's office to tell her that I forgot my checkbook and would bring my check to her tomorrow. In the mailbox today, dated last Friday, was the letter stating that I had not met the requirements of the updated contract for this year.

Meanwhile, I have between 3,000 and 5,000 tomato plants, over 1,000 pepper plants and 500-1,000 eggplant plants, along with over $500 worth of seed ready to go into the garden. I have already planted 600' of leaf lettuce, 800' peas, 200' of turnips, 300' summer squash, 75-100# of potatoes and 3-4# of onion sets.

I'm not sure what I'll be doing with all of this produce.

Anybody know of a good ad to be place in a very expensive newspaper, I hoping to get customers to come to the farm and buy from the farm. Mike, it's a shame your paper is too far from me.

Marla


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: No more farmers market for me.

try craigs list for your area ( its free )


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RE: No more farmers market for me.

I broke down and listed my plants on craigslist, but there are other people trying to sell plants for 50cts in small foam drinking cups. Hopefully I can get a decent price for them, or they will all go in the garden and feed the hogs and cows.

Marla


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RE: No more farmers market for me.

Marla,

This just plain sucks. I know what I would do - print up hundreds of flyers explaining what the market did and how your customers can still get fantastic produce, attend the first couple of markets and pass them out to visitors.

Another option - if there is a nearby town that has a couple of large employers, see if you can set up a stand near them. Take flyers to the factories to let them know you will be there every week.

I haven't done a market yet but one place that advertised with me was thrilled they had over 300 shoppers one day. One spot I have staked out has close to 500 employees within 1/10 of a mile. Mostly Blue Collar workers who appreciate products sold at a decent price.

Wishing you the best!

Mike


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RE: No more farmers market for me.

I had just printed off new business with new farm name and maps to the farm. Handed out 3 last week, unfortunately I also told people that I would be back this week for their plant sales. If I had known, I would have pushed the maps and phone number more. The market manager knew that she sent the letter out (dated Friday) before I set up on Saturday morning, but she didn't have the nerve to say anything. Nor did she say anything when I was in her office, today. I had to get the news in a letter.

Mike, in your opinoin, how many flyers could I get printed up for $300 (the payment that I have NOT given her yet). She owes me another $300 for what I prepaid, I'm supposed to receive a check for that within 14 days.

Or would it be cheaper for me to print flyers off of my computer?

Marla


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RE: No more farmers market for me.

Marla,

Around here, full color copies cost about $5-10 per hundred at some print shops. $300 would get you more flyers than Carter has liver pills!

Mike


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RE: No more farmers market for me.2

Can you even get Carter's liver pills anymore? Now if I was a descriptive writer, wishful thinking. I'll have to do some thinking.

Sorry if this is a cry in my beer post, just need some moral support. Thanks to all.

Marla


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RE: No more farmers market for me.

I had assumed most markets required 100% seller grown produce. Mine does but doesn't do really well at enforcing it for one vendor.

Doesn't it suck when someone keeps something from you like that and pretends everything is fine and then Wham! they crap on you!? I had an employer do that once and it has been difficult to trust again.


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RE: No more farmers market for me.

Wow Marla. That is terrible to hear. That's interesting that you even had to supply receipts. It is unfortunate that the manager was too cowardly to let you know face to face.

I wish you luck selling off your plants.


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RE: No more farmers market for me.

Is there another market in your area? I have no idea how your market is organized in Indiana, but I am sure you can find another market that would love to have you.

What about starting your own market? Find a business that has a big parking lot and is willing to let you set up shop each week. I know that two of our largest vendors did this in one of the towns I sell at. They started their own market and sell. It is actually a better location than the market I attend.

I am sorry, this has to stink for you, but I truly believe you can make a go of it if you stop, look at your options and put everything into the best choice.

I know I did this when I stopped going to a market and switched to another market. I grew up in the town the first market was located in. The kids could see the grandparents every week. However, I could start seeing a trend. I was the biggest vendor and I was the only progressive vendor there. The market never tried to advertise and lots of people backstabbed each other. I left the market and moved on. While some of those things are still true at my new market, I have worked with others to help build this market. I work with the Advertising Committee and I have a say.

Good luck and let us know what you are going to do.

Jay


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RE: No more farmers market for me.

I might just have my lawyer give them a call if I were you.


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RE: No more farmers market for me.

Just to clear some things up. I was always clear that some of my produce was not produced by myself, unlike others (we'll see if they are welcomed back). unfortunately last year, when they came out, our gardens/fields were filled with produce but more weeds. From the end of the fields, you could not see the produce. Also, this market has been around since 1839 and is one of the biggest. There are other markets near me, but they're total sales are less than 10% of this one.

We have been thinking of changing things, just didn't expect to be blindsided.

Good thing, no more 5 am wake ups for Saturday markets.

I will survive!

thank you all for your support.

Marla


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RE: No more farmers market for me.

marla im sorry to hear this..
if you dont mind me asking is the name of the market "Lafayette Farmers Market"???
if not i will stop looking for a loop-hole in the vendor contract from there web site.

after being there 12 years with no violations from a market master..somethings not right..

you said "The bad thing is we have had 2 mini markets over the last 2 weeks and nothing was mentioned. Even today, when I personally went into the manager's office to tell her that I forgot my checkbook and would bring my check to her tomorrow. In the mailbox today, dated last Friday, was the letter stating that I had not met the requirements of the updated contract for this year."

when did you mail in your contract?? and what date did they update there contract?? also the 2 markets you did allready, did you have at lest 70% of your own produce?


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RE: No more farmers market for me.

Another persons Lively-hood destroyed in 30 seconds by the stroke of a pen and a 51 cent stamp.
This is why excessive rules by bureaucrat,s ruin business.

Ahh! for the ole days when all you needed to sell your Wares was a table and a smile.
Thank you Liberals--rules,rules,more rules . . . wait a new rule coming,great!!!!!


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RE: No more farmers market for me.

Marla I sure hate to hear this. I've been thinking about this all night and suspect that there may well be other factors going here. If I understand you correctly in the new contract you are required to provide 70% of you produce and you have signed this contract, returned it with a deposit (which they accepted) and already been to two pre-season markets. Since it is early in the year I can only assume that you were selling bedding plants and therefore were above the 70% threshhold for those markets keeping you in compliance. What happened last year either at the market or at a site inspection has no bearing on that. As long as you maintain that level for this year there should be no non-compliance issue. I've read through the contract they have on their website (I assume it's the right one) and even if they beleive that you are currently selling above the 30% cutoff by sales you are entitled to a warning from the market prior to expultion to allow you to correct the situation. From what you have stated I see no breach on your behalf for the 70/30 rule.

There is another area that may be troublesome - that is the Direct Purchace clause. I know that in the past you have gotten produce from Rockville which specificly violated Sec 5 SubSec A Par 3 " Vendors may not sell any products that they purchased from wholesalers, distributors, retailers, or in an acution". However, conduct from prior years does not apply under the current contract so unless you are currently buying from there you should not be in breach.

There is a catch-all clause they can envoke - "The Market Board may follow any procedures that it deems in its sole discretion to be appropriate in evaluating an alleged violation, and will decide, by majority vote, whether or not a Vendor has violated the Product Rules or any other of these Terms and Conditions. The Market Board's ruling will be final and binding for all purposes." This would allow the Market Board to suspend your privledges for any cause, including past year's compliance.

I just don't know what to tell you. You could fight this in the legal system but the cost is probably going to make this a non-viable option. If you are in current compliance from the two markets you have already attended I would be tempted to sit down with the Market Director and point this out. If the relent and allow you back then you would have to stay in compliance and be able to prove it. I know it would change the way you have done buisness but that would be the cost. Finding another market may be your best option - maybe towards Indy?? It would be a bigger market base to draw from and you might be able to find a market with less onerous regulations. Wish you were a little further west - there are a couple of good markets here in Illinois that would welcome you.

Tom


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RE: No more farmers market for me.

cowpie51: No, you can't blame bureaucrats on this one. I'm sad Marla got treated the way she did, but some FM rules are good as they level the playing field and make sure customers know what they are getting, produce grown by the farmer in the booth selling it; hence the term Farmers Market.

We've been taking our fruit that we personally grow and pick to farmers markets for 2 years now. However if I had to compete with farmers that buy their fruit at the wholesale market, which some unmanaged markets allow, and then resell it at their booth giving the unspoken illusion they personally grew it, I couldn't compete. Is it fair that a person can go to a wholesale produce market, buy a variety of inferior product (because that's why it's sold wholesale) and then sell it at a FM booth giving the illusion they grew it while the farmer in the next booth grew and personally picked all of their produce fresh that day and has to sell it at the same price that the "wholesale" retailer in the next booth does just to get the "less informed public" to come to their booth?

No. If you want to blame someone, blame those that are fraudulently selling produce they didn't grow. I have yet to see any FM booth advertise that they didn't grow what they are selling. If folks wanted mass-produced produce that looks pretty on the shelf but has no flavor because it was sprayed with a variety of pesticides and fungicides and picked before it was ripe and sold to a wholesale market, they'd go to a grocery store.

Sorry for getting on my soap box, but there are times when rules are a good thing and the Farmers Market is one of those places. Each vendor signs a contract and for those that don't think the rules apply to them, all I have to say is they are wrong.


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RE: No more farmers market for me.

Lets not start blanket-bashing liberals or anyone else for that matter. Our market has a requirement that 80% be grown by the vendor so, there are some markets with even more stringent requirements. It is unfortunate that this issue was not brought up to Marla in plenty of time for her and I'm sure other farmers who would be adversely affected by this. Marla says she was always clear on what was hers and what was not so it seems to me, the powers-that-be could have given her and others enough notice either to comply with the new rule or to make other decisions. Others have given some great advice. Take a deep breath. Weigh all of your options. Maybe it is time for a change and maybe that change will be better for you Marla. The best of luck to you. I have learned a lot from you, reading your postings and I hope you will be able to continue market-farming if that is what you decide you still want to or can do.


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RE: No more farmers market for me.

Marla, I'm with Jay on this one. I think you could go independent and probably do very well. In the Effingham area, we have more independent vendors than those who attend the legitimate farmers market. They do very well---far better than we do. If you already have the customer base, then put the word out to them of your situation. Perhaps you could do a csa or at least a modified csa. Last year our market crashed and I lost my FS store sales. However, my individual customer list increased as did my restaurant sales, and I really never missed either of them. This year, my individual customers have tripled, and I no longer depend so heavily on the restaurants tho' I still enjoy selling to them. There is always some creative solution.

Brook


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RE: No more farmers market for me.

You might try contacting a few of the local chefs and see if you can direct sell to them. It might be a great way to get rid of your produce and diversify a bit.

I will add that our market requires that everyone produces 100% of what they sell. I believe that is the only way to go.


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RE: No more farmers market for me.

In former years, we were allowed to buy anywhere, as long as the produce was of good quality, and we produced the majority of what we sold. Nothing about per season or per day on the majority.

This year, I told the market manager in writing that I was not bringing anything not grown by me to the farmers market. All other produce was only to be sold at the farm.

The contract was sent out in March (long after I started my tomato/pepper plants), but I was doing all of the growing. My 2 mini-markets were 100% grown by me from seeds, not even plugs or starts.

I strongly believe that they wanted me OUT and this was the only way that they could get it done. I'm still waiting for a return call to determine what requirement that I did not meet.

Yes, it was the Lafayette Farmers Market. It was a wonderful market for me and others. To the point that last year we had over 75 vendors, 50+ during most of the growing season each Saturday.

I agreed that the contract changed and so did I, but evidently that wasn't enough to satisfy them.

I will be looking into other sites and have listed my plants on Craigslist.

All of my produce was super high quality, anything less was fed to the cows. We had happy cows.

This is a lesson to all of us that people WILL twist a contract anyway that they wish to.

Tom and boston, did you notice that part about me not being able to sue them??

Marla


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RE: No more farmers market for me.

I did see that clause however I do not think it would apply. By revoking your contract without proper notification (or IMHO grounds) they are in breach therefore nullifying the contract. It also states that a vendor that has has been found in violation and suspended will not be refunded their moneys so I trust you are able to recover your deposit. Frankly, I think there is something very fishy going on here. Would I look at legal action?? Probably not. Even if you are able to force your way back in it is going to be a drawn out process. Not to mention that you would be going back somewhere that certianly does not want you. Now if they do not return your deposit I might seek council to discover your options.

I probably should add that I am not a legal expert (nor do I play one on TV) so any advice I have provided is worth just about what it cost.

I think you should view this as an opportunity to move onward and upward. You'll land on your feet and be all the better for it.

Tom


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RE: No more farmers market for me.

I should be getting a check, per letter, within 14 days. I hope so.

I have left this market once before for 1 full season plus 2 partial seasons. The money that I made at it, brought me back.

Since I'm less than 50 miles from IL, I may need to look at Danville to see if there are still openings.

I know I won't miss those 5am mornings.

Marla


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RE: No more farmers market for me.

i saw the COVENANT NOT TO SUE AND RELEASE OF ALL CLAIMS.

you realy need to talk to the market board and tell him /her you want it in wrighting what Violation and or reason for being terminated...

its there negligence for letting you sell at the 2 mini markets over the last 2 weeks.

if you had only givin them a check on the 2nd instead of telling them you whould bring it tomarow....

"Timing and Method of Payment. Season Vendors must pay Vendor Fees for a full season by check payable to GLC, either in full by May 2, 2011, or one-half by April 1, 2011, and the other one- half by May 2, 2011. Daily Vendors must pay Vendor Fees on the day of use to the Market Master using checks payable to GLC.
if they took your check and cashed it, then they whould have to honor the contract.but still they should have told you that befor you did the 2 mini markets..

the more i read abought this CONTRACT FOR VENDING the more it looks like its in your favor. you just need to have all your ducks in a row and demand a meeting with the market board...you have been there for 12 years you must have some pull with other vendors to stand up for you..


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RE: No more farmers market for me.

Sell from home! In Oklahoma you can sell what you grow under the right to farm act and never collect or pay sales tax.That saves your cust.9% there!


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RE: No more farmers market for me.

I want to thank everyone for their support and sympathy.

I have found other markets, not near as big or as close, but also not as many restrictions and market masters happy to have us. This will expand us out to about 30 miles radius from the farm, therefore adding more people to our possible customer lists.

Marla


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