Return to the Market Gardener Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Which market to sell at, revisited.

Posted by jrslick KS/5 (My Page) on
Mon, Sep 9, 13 at 1:01

It has been 3 weeks (this week) since I brought up the subject about which market to attend. I have attended the market in the bigger town and my wife and family attended the market in my hometown. Both weeks, by 9 am (markets start at 8), my wife has sent me a text saying "I am glad you went, we have few customers".

Both weeks she has taken a very limited offering and both weeks she has brought some stuff home or sold out to one of the last customers. Meanwhile, I take everything else and sell, dollars and cents wise, 2.5 to 3 times as much as she does. I ask her, if you had more, would you sell more? Her answer has been "NO" each time.

While I love our small hometown market and I really like the laid back atmosphere, seeing all our friends, having the kids run around and play, the 3 mile drive, and being home by noon. We are reluctantly going to continue to sell in the bigger town and keep a small offering at our hometown market, as my wife can handle it and as the weather allows. We can't sit around and only have $150 in sales when we have enough produce to do two markets and if she can't go, I am just going to go to the larger market and take it all. We have been selling 2.5 to 3 times that in the bigger market. I also see it as starting to build a bigger customer base for our winter markets in this town.

With that said, is there anything we can do to try to get more people to our smaller market? We do weekly radio call in ads on their 15 minute show called Listener's Classifieds. We do a quick inventory of what everyone has and one of us calls it in and lets everyone know what is available today. It is live and during our market time. We also have a facebook page and remind everyone, I post on several "For Sale" facebook pages, we have fliers out and around and it is always listed in our newspaper "Calendar". We have signs up around town, the real estate sign sized ones, that we put up in 4 to 5 different locations around town.

Thanks!

Jay


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

Here the market masters do blogs and update every week which vendors are going to be there (varies), what's in season, what the entertainment is. Some post recipes and/or have guest chefs prepare something at market with what vendors have that week.

Do you have a bakery or Italian ice vendor? Seems the sweets sell well and are a draw as well as entertainment. Seasonal fruit and corn too. No one comes to market for the veggies - unless they're picking up a CSA share. If any vendors have CSAs they might consider having a pickup for some customers' convenience (so they don't have to drive to farm), that helps generate some extra sales for other vendors who have produce not included in the CSA shares.

But boy, it sounds like you have plenty of advertising, do a lot of people in town have their own gardens?


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

I live in ks, aswell, and the rural markets struggle. Visited severalin the city, shocked at how busy they were.

Not being able to give samples hurts. People need educated. Wal mart needs to burn.

I think its just the nature of smaller markets.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

Yes we are in a rural area, many of our customers have their own gardens. Most people buy from us early and late and then substitute in what they didn't grow, what was a failure or what they don't have space for.

People do buy produce/ veggies at our market, I don't understand this statement. Why wouldn't they buy produce at a farmers market?

Sorry no CSA's in our area. They haven't caught on and I am the only one who has tried to do a "Hybrid" CSA.

We have done our annual "Grill Off", think of the TV show "Chopped". Our contestants have 4 secret ingredients and prepare a meal from market ingredients. It is a very successful event. We hand out recipe cards, part of a grant we signed up to be part of. They are very nice, but they don't always equal more in sales.

It is just the season for lower sales. Too many people being pulled too many different ways!

Jay


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

I know, it seems strange that people would come to a farmers' market for something other than fresh fruits and veggies. But I've seen this at 2 different markets the last 3 years - here in my area of CT, people come for the corn, fruit (to some extent - peaches yes, blueberries yes, not so much strawberries), but not the things they grow in their own gardens. More rural market, squash didn't sell except the huge ones (maybe people didn't let theirs get that big, or maybe they could find small ones at grocery store but wanted big for grilling, zucchini bread, etc.). More suburban market they bought the smaller ones as well - but they had to look perfect. Kale is a hard sell, maybe because so many health-conscious people belong to CSAs and they had had enough of it by the time market opened mid-June.

But both markets it seemed people came to get fresh baked goods (esp. sweets to eat right there, cookies and muffins sold well, so did small loaves of bread), Italian ice, gourmet olive oil & flavored vinegars, kale chips (go figure! But the Raw Foods (dehydrated) stand is always busy), goat cheese, handmade soap, maple syrup, eggs, fresh salsa and to some extent preserves. I had a lot of people ask me for pickles, and when I displayed some items I made for own own use (pickles, salsa, apple butter, tomato sauce) at Open Farm Day this weekend, people wanted to buy the them - I had to explain that I was working on getting the permission to sell acidified foods next year, I will be making apple butter for market this month. One person asked for green tomato relish but couldn't describe whether it was sweet or spicy.

Didn't sell too many tomatoes or peppers, did sell some green beans this weekend (though 1 man asked me how to cook them).

Market seems to be more of an "event" where people can hang out (though not too many people hang out at the one in parking lot, more people stayed for entertainment at the one on the green with picnic tables), walk their dogs, meet friends, and grab a treat to eat then or take home. Seems that most people do their produce shopping at the grocery store or belong to a CSA. The only produce it seems people will go out of their way/come to market specifically for is "just-picked" sweet corn - I'm really thinking of trying that next year. Thinking of getting chickens too - though both corn and chickens are a challenge with all the wildlife around here.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

From what i have seen at the rural markets, its folks suoplementing thier gardens, ir gardening types who are unable tyo garden for some reason.

I do not see the folks wanting to buy fresh veggies, and willing to pay for that quality, that i see in the city.

In my local town, i also wonder if Saturday, is the ideal day. Yes its most folks dayy off, but it is also a busy day for many young families. Sports etc... tie uo a lot of time. I wonder if an evening would not get the younger folks , with money to spend, out in more numbers.

Sorry, cell phone


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

Smaller, rural markets always struggle when the nearby gardens started to peak produce. It's just the facts of life. If you want money, you need to go to where the money is. Unfortunately, that NOT in the small rural market after school starts. I can go to Indy and get 4-7x as much for the same item, but I have the mileage and fees that I don't have at my small market. But I would have more competition, since others have figured this out also.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

Our little market has seen a complete turnaround. We finally got a market manager who listened to the people and moved the market. We also have muscians, face painters, bakers, artisan crafts, etc. Most produce vendors' profits have at least quadrupled. However, we still have a couple folks living in another century--2lbs tomatoes for .75 or green beans at .75/lb. pt of cherry tomatoes for .50. $10 for a gallon of blackberries. Good God, I got $10 a gallon when I was in grade school!!--and that was more decades ago than I care to remember. You just can't compete against that.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

Brookw: Sound like things are going better, maybe it is time to round up $20 and buy out those folks from another century! We had a guy selling tomatoes super cheap. Finally another vendor went down and bought 40-50 lbs every week early in the day, then he took the tomatoes back and resold them for twice the amount. He sold out at twice the price every time, the other guy saw this and still didn't care.

Marla: You are right about larger markets. I could apply to go to an even larger market and only sell on Saturdays, but I don't. I would have to drive 2 hours one way and I would be so exhausted every weekend, it wouldn't be worth it.

Mick: Yes Saturdays aren't the best time for younger families with active kids, but I also fit in that group. We have 5 kids and have been selling at one or two markets every Saturday for 8 years. It just has to be a priority. For some people, shopping at a farmers market is a novelty.

I guess how can you help transfer those people from a novelty to regular customers?

Aj: Our markets are way different. Produce is the main reason many people come. If the produce is low or not available, the market reflects that. That is why I fight mother nature to have as much stuff as early as I can and continue that trend all year long. Then I fight to keep it alive all winter long. Kale is a big seller in the winter, not so much in the spring.

Jay


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

I've bought out people before and done the same thing, or sold mine and kept theirs for my uses. If I didn't have a huge amount myself.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

Our season is so short, early tomatoes would be a big seller, peppers may be if I could get them in early enough to get to size up, but a conventional farmer (who rumor has it buys in from down south) sells his green bell peppers at $2.50/lb when grocery store has them $1.50-$2/lb, and I've got smaller ones I'm trying to get $3/lb for. But grocery stores sell jalapenos at $4-5/lb, this farmer is selling them $4/lb but has poblanos for $6/lb! I'm charging $4/lb for all my hots, but didn't plant many this year since they just don't sell. I planted Cornu di Toro and some supposedly Ancient Sweets but still waiting for them to turn color (and the AS are still small), have the problem here that if it's not a bell, people think it's hot and they don't like anything hotter than a jalapeno.

My mom says I should just concentrate on preserves, but jars and electricity cost so much it's more profitable to sell the fruit. And now we have SWD so I don't know how much fruit I'm going to be able to grow.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

I will be concentrating on the preserves with the produce being second next year. Last week, if I hadn't had the preserves, I wouldn't have made much. As much in preserve sales as produce if not more.

I've got lots of fruit frozen/canned for preserves to be made this winter. I'll keep watching for good deals on fruit during peak seasons. Luckily I don't have to grow my own fruit. I do need to grow a bunch of pickling cukes next years based on this years sales of pickles.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

Probably shouldn't share this picture with you, but I am.

 photo Screenshot2013-08-23at15328AM_zps4119f911.png

 photo image_zps1cf87b8e.jpg

We sell our bell peppers for 75 cents each, 3 for $2, regardless of size or color. I usually pick the biggest ones green, as big green ones are easy to sell and then the smaller ones turn color and people are happy at that price and I am selling them at that price. We planted over 500 bells this year and we take as many in the picture to every market, usually it is 5 to 7 plastic tshirt bags full (easier to carry that way). We usually end up selling 3 to 5 bags of them at each market. This year has been an awesome pepper year.

Our Anahiem, hot banana, sweet peppers are all $2.50 a pound and Jalapenos are 25 each or 5 for $1 which is about $2.85 a pound. Selling by the piece is much easier especially when they are so uniform.

Jay


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

I wish my jals were uniform but I've got some "Gigantes" and some regular, plus serranos are smaller. In past years when I've had all about the same size I did sell for 10-25 cents each. Still never sold many.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

The problem we have with our local market are 15.00 bushels of beans, 5 zucunni for a dollar, tomatoes for 1.00 a pound and .50 heads of lettuce. I live less than 3 minutes from the site of our market and haven't seen more than 3 customers at a time. Vendors won't stay because the president is set and everyone expects to buy for pennies. We attend a market once and a while 20 miles from home that prices are good for the seller and there are dozens of people there during the whole time.

We intended to hit the markets every week, but it just turned out not to be good for us. Thank goodness for our CSA offerings. If we were depending on the local prices we would be belly up.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

I have been in several businesess snd there are always people complaining that someone else is too cheap.

Its a free market folks. People complain about vendors selling cheap produce, but the same complainers shop at wal mart.

Educate your customers, find different customers, or become more efficient.

Some rursl markets, are just never gonna be big money makers. I do believe there is the option of msking your market a destination, with music ettc.... but how many can do this?

My opinion, is your doung the right thing.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

in rural areas it is very helpful if your market offers EBT, and even more helpful if double benefits are offered. We did $93 in EBT at the smaller market this past saturday where they double EBT benefits, they being the non-profit that runs it. the market is in our county seat. our county has but one stoplight so it is very rural.
both markets we attend have bakers, crafters, ready to eat food vendors, and music in addition to produce vendors.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

Rio, prices can be changed if vendors really want to. I came into a market that was $10/bu beens or $.75 lb, $.50 pound tomatoes. Now I regularly get $1.50-$2.00 lb for tomatoes until the peak season, then I have to drop some, but I've never dropped to the $.50 per pound (unless I just want to piss people off). My stuff is quality and my customers know it and are willing to pay more.

This coming weekend is the last market for the season, and I have 19 boxes of tomatoes (25# each) ready for market. I may have a 'last day of season sale' or be canning all next week. I'm glad that about all I have of abundance.

Someone has to be the first to change the prices, and you have to prove that your stuff IS better in some way.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

I think the only thing you can do when a market has too cheap of prices is sell other things- only just slightly different- packed differently and so on.
I personally think what Rio describes is horrible. I couldn't stand it. We have no real low sellers at our market for produce. It is extremely rude to not try to price what the others do for the most part (undercutting). but for a market to all be that cheap is retarded. They are only hurting themselves. Walmart doesn't even have those prices!!! It is like going back in time. Is bread $1 a loaf too?

Anyways, I am taking the first step in adding another market next year or then perhaps dropping the local one I do possibly if that one does well. 2 problems: schedule, mine is very tight and I work the one day of this market. The other is getting in, many markets are not accepting more produce vendors. So I am asking them ahead of time. I had contacted her some time ago about it and can't remember the response but hadn't seriously considered it because of the schedule. My work days were screwed with by corporate months ago so I can't switch to Wednesday instead of Monday. I would have to get a different job. I am applying at the new Whole Foods. So it would be a huge change, new market and new job!


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

Bread is outrageous, I had to buy some at grocery store rather than BJs where I normally get 2 big loaves for $3, it was around $4 a loaf! I did find some on sale for $2.67, enough for this week until I can get to BJs (or Walmart). At least I got the cereal DD likes for $1.75/13oz box!

Milk and gas seem to run about the same per gallon but gas is heading up. I can make my own bread, but I draw the line at getting a cow ;-)

At least we don't have any super-cheap vendors at market - though I have to check prices of the guy across the street.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

I still buy bread for $1 loaf at Kroger. They are trying to raise to $1.25.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

Ok, my point was not clear, i guess.

There will always be a cheaper place to purchase a given item. Many folks look at buying veggies, the same as some of you look at buying a loaf of bread. They are going to buy what is cheapest.

A company can not make a quality loaf of bread for $1, and we can not raise quality tomatoes for $1 a pound. So either the quality is low, or they wont be in business long.

Either way, they will always be around. Suppliers of cheap stuff, and buyers of cheap stuff.

So, you have to find a different market, explain why your product is better, or give up.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

Wheat is cheap - I can make a darn good loaf of bread for under $1 (though it will be smaller than what I buy at BJ's b/c of the size of my pan). All it takes is flour, water, salt and yeast - and even with electricity 18 cents per kWh it doesn't take much. I buy bread because of the convenience - because a 1 lb loaf of homemade bread would last about a day around here and I don't want to bake every day! $2-3 (depending on the size of the loaf and the quality of ingredients) seems about right for store-bought - and I reluctantly admit that I would pay $5 for a really big loaf of an "artisan" bread, since I would gladly pay that for a cake (and cake is cheap to make too, even with eggs and sugar).

Yes, volume will always mean lower prices - the big growers get economy of scale, the small guys (and gals) have to charge more. But when you get the jobbers, or the backyard gardeners, undercutting everyone else it makes it hard to make a living.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

I have always been the 'volume' seller, but I've tried to keep my price reasonable for both the customer and myself. I believe $4/lb tomatoes are a bit outrageous, but we have certain vendors that believe that is the correct price. I try to stay at the $2.50 or less price, depending on timing.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

The folks who dont make thier living off farming (myself included) will always be there. I charge more, because i have quality veggies, and i dont want to be a hobby farmer forever. However, i sell very little at market. Most is direct deeliverd to loysl customers, and i can not raise enough.

Yes i know bread csn be made for $1 a loaf, i do it, bur i couldnt mske any money selling bread for $1 a loaf. Stores are not making and selling quality bread for $1 either. I looked a losf of kroeger bred the other day, and the first ingrediant was high fructose corn syrup. No wonder it doesnt mold......

I do home repair for a "living" and there is alwways someone eilling to work for $10 per hour. Those people, and those customerrs, deserve each other.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

hillbilly, I understand, my husband was a self-employed general contractor his entire life until disability got the better of him. Now he helps me with the prepping of our jams/jelly business.

Everything a company lays off, more 'carpenters' and 'farmers market vendors' show up. When the economy is good, less diy people are in our businesses.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

While I. Don't disagree with any of the above, in our area, unless I want to spend a bunch of weeks wasting veggies that don't sell until people realize we are bringing premium produce, well I can push it out to my CSA folks and at least it dosent go to waste. We are down to. Fall crops now anyway. I have a break in our tomatoes because of a planting error on my part. I was talking to a local grocer the other day who wanted to buy Roma's from us. He asked price and I said 1.00 a pound, he laughed. Of. Course he can buy 8.00 bushels at the Amish action... I ain't picking them for that.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

I just sold 5 lbs of tomatoes at $3/lb to owner of local pizza/sub shop. He already put in his order for veggies this week, and they only use about 25 lbs of tomatoes a week he estimates, but he was glad to get them from me to bring home! I told him I get $4/lb at market for organic heirloom tomatoes, but I want to build a long-term relationship and am thinking of wholesaling and selling from a stand only, skipping the market with their fees.

We'll see if he wants to buy more from me next week, or next year (since the season is ending), he'll take cukes and lettuce too.

I guess it all depends on the area - we live in a pretty high-priced area. Yeah, I can get tomatoes at the grocery store for $2/lb but they' be tasteless gassed hybrids.

There's a big "farm to chef" movement here - farms throwing $100/plate dinners and such. The schools are starting to buy from local farms too - too bad I don't produce enough to supply the school system in our town. But maybe the elementary school next town over (they send 7th grade and up to a regional jr/sr high)?

Here is a link that might be useful: Harvest dinner sold out


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

Rio, you are competing with a totally different customer base than most of us. I use the Amish when I can, but most vendors don't. You will not be able to compete on a wholesale level due to them.

Romas will only last for so long and the auction prices fluctuate alot. That's what your store isn't realizing.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

So it is the Amish that are keeping the low prices? Why do they continue to sell at such low prices? I remember someone saying they were getting 50 cents a dozen for sweet corn the last time they were at the Auction. I am guessing that they had to pay for the box or bag it was in too, plus labor, a commission rate and seed, water? I would let it stand in the field for those prices.

We don't have produce auctions around here, the nearest one is in Missouri, 3.5 hours away. I have heard of people going to these auctions, loading up on quality, cheap produce and going into Kansas City and asking and getting top dollar. Some even claiming it as their own.

A different part of the world I guess.

Jay


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

The Amish look like it this way, when they can get good prices, great. But there will be times that the prices suck. It all balances out, and that's what they hope to get as a reasonable amount.

Corn can go for as low as 50 cents, or as high as $4-5 dozen, depending on supply. Just like anything else. Supply and demand.

We are getting more and more buyers at my Amish auction, bringing the prices higher. The first year, you could get $1/box tomatoes for several markets per year, if you were a buyer. This year (year 8-9), there has only been a couple of auctions with those prices, and the boxes were not a good buy. Buyers start to realize who packs the boxes with good stuff all the way thru, and who puts good ones on top and the rest is garbage.

The reports don't give an good example, just an average, high and low on ALL 25# boxes or whatever.

They, just like us, are trying to make a living. And they have just as much expenses as we do, just different ones. while we have mechanic bills for the tractors, they have vet bills. they do electricity, in a way, as that requires repairs. While they usually don't have electricity inside the house, they have to pay for propane to run their house.

Again, it's the buyers that refuse to pay a decent price, that is the problem.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

I get the weekly wholesale prices and farmer's market prices from the state. Field tomatoes are selling for $1/lb, heirloom greenhouse (I don't know why they are breaking it down that way, doesn't anybody grow heirlooms in the fields, or hybrids in the GH?) are $3-$3.20/lb WHOLESALE. Plum tomatoes are much less. Squash is wholesaling at $5-12 per 1/2 bushel. Cortland and Gala apples are going for 65 -68cents/lb, Macs are 33 cents each (96 ct).


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

I don't think Indiana has a report for the wholesale prices. Each area is different, and with your shorter season, it would be very different than me.

The reason that heirloom/greenhouse is higher is maybe there isn't as many heirloom OR greenhouse tomatoes available for wholesale pricing. I have a feeling that there should be a / between the heirloom greenhouse, instead of a space.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

VA has a monthly farmers market report.
the same non-profit that runs the local market (Sustain Floyd, Floyd is the name of this county)offered us an opportunity to grow for the local elementary school. the prices the school would pay are not sustainable for this farm.

Here is a link that might be useful: farmers market prices


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

Here's a link to this week's wholesale ag report. What is 1-1/9? Lots of stuff priced that way. Some say 1-1/9bu so I guess it's just over a bushel (why 1/9 of a bushel? and a few things sold at 4/5 bu), other don't say "bu".

Some stuff just doesn't make sense - 96ct Macs $32 (so $4/doz) while corn is $10/5 dozen (half the price of the apples)? While retail corn is $5-6/doz? I don't know what Macs are selling for each, orchard near DD's school had "samples" for 50 cents (since health dept came down on them about cutting apples for samples, now they sell whole apples to taste, have "samples" separate from bags). Half pecks were selling $7.50-$12 depending on variety, 1/2 bushels were $25 (so about $1/lb) and I bought 1/2 bu "sauce" apples (some going a little soft but not wrinkled) for $8.50.

Here is a link that might be useful: link to CT wholesale/auction prices


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

Bushel boxes are marked 1 1/9 bushel. It's a standard size. The 4/5 I don't recognize.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

Had another good sales day at the larger market, my sales were 4.5 times more than at my small market. It is clear to us that my small town market it dying. Also, some of the other small vendors don't have faith that the customers will continue to buy at fair prices and an example of this is tomatoes. They dropped the price to $1 a pound. We have been and will continue to sell at $2.50 a pound or 5 pounds for $10. She sold about half of what I sent.

The new wrinkle in this is now, my wife says, that people who have bought from us in the past now are buying more from other people. She thinks it is because I am not there. Even though my kids are there and the set up is exactly the same, even the same location, and same system.

An example, the gal asks if we have any garlic, we say yes and she looks at it. Then she walks away and goes to the next booth, asks for garlic and then buys theirs Everything is the same, same size, same shape, same price. I told my wife I guess I am more charming!

I told her that I feel that people have been supporting us all year and maybe they just want to spread the money around. I had someone tell me that one year. Who knows, but I am glad I went to the bigger market or we would be sitting on lots of produce and I would be burned out.

Jay


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

Changing the face of the farm can make a difference, either good or bad.

I think you would be better concentrated on the larger markets, after all, you are in for the money. That's what helps to pay the bills.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

I just received an email that the larger market I applied to said no to more produce vendors. The vendor next to me at market recommended I do this other market and wasn't afraid of lost money but the board is I guess. The person who made the call is a produce vendor on the board of course. This sucks.
Maybe I should start to deliver some shares into the metro. Otherwise I am working hard for poverty wages. Lower than the people who have been picketing!


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

The two markets I attend are truly "Free Markets". If your items you sell meet the requirements, then you can have a stall and sell. We take in all produce vendors. Yes it does stink when someone new comes in and doesn't know the pricing and undercuts everyone and then is gone a few weeks later, but I would hate to see it any other way. It does give our customers a choice.

Jay


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

Some markets like to restrict the number of certain vendors to 'help' keep the vendors that they already have, or only have so many spaces and want to have a 'nice' proportion of crafts/bakery/produce. What they don't realize is they miss out on some really good vendors by doing this.

I like to recommend to any new vendor at any of my markets to walk around BEFORE setting any prices, so see what others are charging, and then base their prices on what THAT market is charging. You can always charge more, but don't undercut. One of my markets, the market master, does this and doesn't allow a big difference between prices. Usually 25% swing. If the new vendor doesn't want to comply, he isn't invited back. All new vendors are on a trial basis for the first few weeks.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

I applied to this market because the produce vendor next to me at my market said how great it was and that he thought I should join. He said he had made $13000 at that one market from May to September I believe. He let me use him as a reference of sorts. As a produce vendor he did not mind me coming to that market. But the person I got the email from also has a farm. It was not the market manager that contacted me even though that was who I emailed. I understand the need for a market of a smaller size to limit new produce vendors. Our market does such lousy sales we do not let more produce vendors in. But this market obviously does decent sales yet isn't overloaded with vendors so this decision sucks.
To think growing the produce is the easy part. Selling it is the hard part! I don't think customers or people in general have any idea of that!
There is one local market that is accepting more vendors but it is slow and small and the day after the one I do which is when I do half my CSA shares.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

i feel fortunate that most of the time the markets i sell at are very busy. restricting vendors is short sighted. the bigger the market the more customers show up. sure there may be some sales lost to new vendors at the outset but eventually the customer base will catch up.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

I feel your pain Minnie; I've been experiencing the same thing. The largest market in my area won't take in new produce vendors, and when I spoke to the market manager I told him that I was surprised by this, as his market seemed pretty bare. He said that not all vendors showed up each week, but they had their spots reserved for the entire season. I asked if I could be on a wait list to take someone else's spot last minute if they decided not to go, but he said no - and he wasn't very nice about it.

It seems very anti-competitive, and not in the best interest of the public. Prices are high at this market, $6.50/dozen for non-organic eggs, $6 for a bunch of beets, etc. Some of the people who visit this market end up at my (much smaller) market, because they can't find what they want at the bigger market. No sweet potatoes, no garlic, etc. I hope that some of the smaller markets in the area can eventually catch up to the larger one, but for now, it's by far the largest in the area.

I have since talked to a number of farmers, both local and in other states who have encountered this same difficulty getting into a decent farmers' market. The group of farmers who start a market and work for years to make it successful deserve preference over us newcomers, but it doesn't seem fair, or in the best interest of the public to have a market in a half bare parking lot.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

$13,000 isn't that much in a good market. One year I was at $40,000 and another long-time vendor regularly got $100,000 in sales each year.

Personally I think that the market should only restrict when they don't have the spaces available. Being on stand-by is hard when the vendors don't let the market master know when they are NOT showing up.

I can understand limiting the market to 75% produce, 20% baked goods, and 5% other (crafts and such). Not based on sales, but on spaces. That will give a good variety to the market.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

yea, I am beginning to see the politics of markets around me.

I need to check on the legality, as far as city, but I have been approached about setting up one week night per week in a company parking lot. For the employees to use, and whoever else might come by.

Has anyone tried that?


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

In our area, you can set up a farmers market anywhere that you have permission from the landowner and you want to have some really good insurance. I was on the beginning on one of our markets

Other areas may have additional restrictions. Zoning could have more, also.

Any new market struggles for a few years, so be prepared for the long haul.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

$13000 at that time of year meant over $700 per week average for the season. That is twice as much as I have ever made. The market I go to is estimated to bring in $3000-3500 for all vendors per week! We had to do an estimate for SNAP approval. We have 20 vendors but not all 20 every week. So $3000 is super poor but we couldn't estimate it was much more than that. Keep in mind we are talking about VENDOR PRODUCED ONLY. No brokering.

I am sending a follow up email to the market.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

Even if I wasn't producing everything myself. There are many others, in that market, that is producing themselves, plus family that are.

Each market is different, and the markets that have great sales are hard to get into.

You should have received a letter/email from the market master or director, not another vendor without authority to send that notice.

I know several markets here that have people on a waiting list to become vendors for years. Basically someone has to die or quit for another vendor to come in.

Good luck, I hope you get into a good profitable market.


 o
RE: Which market to sell at, revisited.

Most of the markets around here haven't updated their websites for this year, so I don't know the fees. But there is a new one starting up (to benefit another library - that seems to be the new thing), they sent us a letter. They are only going to have 8 markets in July and August and want $200! They followed up with email and I replied that it was too short a season and too expensive (threw the letter out but I think if you wanted to go week by week it was $30).

I contacted the one closest to me (in old mill town converted to yuppie neighborhood), they don't have room for a lot of vendors but were interested in my berries. When I said I'd have to bring preserves and produce as well, I don't have enough fruit (esp. for a Sunday morning) to pay my way just on that, they said sorry can't do it. And this is the town where (as I told them) my family has farmed for over 100 years - I bought the land on the other side of the town line from my great-uncle. Other vendors there are coming from much farther away - in fact, now that the certified organic farm has moved (but still sells there), I don't think any of the vendors are from town (I'm counting myself as a local LOL b/c it's the same parcel of land, my great-uncle subdivided to sell to me but my cousin lives in the farmhouse).

Oh, and I've started making all our bread now - the kids like it better even if the slices are smaller than storebought (and I like controlling the ingredients).


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Market Gardener Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here