Over the past year, I have had the opportunity to attend some local farmer’s markets. And you know what, they kind of rock. I have made so many friends, met many new customers, and leave genuinely encouraged and in a great mood. It is inspiring to see the community come together and support each other’s big, crazy dreams. Each time I leave, it fuels me to reach for the next step in my beef and farmstead dream.
Not only is a farmer’s market a great way for local vendors to get out into the community and showcase their products, but is an excellent way for local vendors to collaborate and share ideas. I very much want to see everybody win and feel like the people I’ve met very much feel the same way. We all go in with an open mind and get to experience new things that can help each local vendor out. Building relationships with each other as well as the customer.
So what is a farmer’s market?
A farmer’s market is a place where farmers and other local producers and vendors sell their food directly to community members. Typically held outdoors and in my case, right on the farm! Farmer’s markets feature a variety of fresh produce, meat, food, and other handmade or homegrown items. Local farmer’s markets can be a great way to find high-quality, locally-grown food, and they can also be a fun and social experience to support local businesses.
Depending on which season you’re shopping in, you get the freshest produce. Late spring markets are full of fresh flowers, plant starters, fresh eggs, local honey, and so much more! Late summer months and early fall, you find all the fresh fruits and fresh veggies. And I am here to tell you, this is when you find the best produce. Everything is ripe and ready from local farms. Another thing I love to do is walk around and see what types of new food items are available that I have not tried before.
Here are some of the benefits of shopping at a farmer’s market:
- You can support local farmers and businesses.
- You can get fresh, seasonal food.
- You can meet the people who grow your food.
- You can learn about different types of food and farming practices.
- You can enjoy a social experience.
What are my best tips and tricks as a seller at a local farmers market?
- Be prepared.
- Be flexible.
- Be social and have fun.
Be prepared. I like to prep all of my marketing materials the week before. It makes the day of setup so much easier and is the best way to put my mind at ease. For me, this means printing my pricing sheets, any applicable coupons or deals, stuffing thank you cards and business cards, and filling any pre-orders. I also like to pack up my product boxes and make sure my freezer is stocked with plenty of Prime Angus beef. I also like to gather up my table, chairs, product bags, chalkboard, and money bag and place it all in a central location. In my second market, I forgot all my small bills, talk about a lesson learned!
Be flexible. Look, the best-laid plans can fall apart in a second. Again, forgot all my smaller bills. Luckily, I was able to think on my feet and enabled my phone to accept credit cards and debit cards. It is best to keep a wide variety of options when it comes to payment options. I now have the ability to accept cash, credit cards, debit cards, and P2P payments. The more flexible the payment option, the better the experience for the customer. I also allow my customers to make pre-orders through my online shop with market delivery as an option.
Overpack. Some farmer’s markets have extended shopping hours and it is crucial to make sure you have plenty of products, snacks, and water packed. It can be extremely hard for me to guess what items I think are going to sell, so I try and bring it all. I also bring my kids with me the majority of the time. That means I pack breakfast, lunch, snacks, and plenty of water to stay hydrated. My kids can eat, so a cooler full of snacks is a necessity and they make great helpers, so keeping them happy and fed is best!
Make a list. Write it all out, what you’re bringing, what setup items you need, what marketing materials you need, product bags, small bills, money collection boxes, QR codes, everything. I have to make myself a checklist or I will forget it all! Most times the night before, I make our lunches for the next day to have ready to grab and on in the fridge. The more you think about it in advance, the better setup you will be on the day of the market.
Be social and have fun. As time allows, get out and meet the other farmer’s market vendors and the market manager. Try and get a look at the entire market and appreciate the time and effort others put into their market stands and creating their products. Grab the social media accounts of the others and give them a like and a follow. Promote any of the products you purchased or saw that you liked. Talk with the other farmers market vendors, you may end up making a lifelong friend. Don’t forget to promote any farmer’s markets you are in on your social media accounts and share the market itself. Social media advertising is a powerful tool.
Grab a friend, pack up a cooler bag, and go visit your local farmers market today! You’re certain to have a great time, meet local farmers, and ask questions about where your food comes from. You get peak season fruit and veggies and baked goodies, along with flowers, plant starters, and homemade crafts and products. You get to directly support our family’s dream when you purchase Prime Angus beef directly from us!