How to Sell at a Farmers Market

These tips will help you discover useful information on how to sell at a farmers market.

| April 2016

  • According to the USDA: Female-run farms generate $13 billion worth of produce a year.
    Photo courtesy The Countryman Press
  • "Woman-Powered Farm," by Audrey Levantino shows that women on the farm is on the rise, all across the United States, from big farms raising market crops to small urban farms bringing organic produce to farm stands.
    Cover courtesy The Countryman Press

Woman-Powered Farm (The Countryman Press, 2015) by Audrey Levatino tells women's story, and is the first ever guide to farming written by women and addressing their specific questions and concerns. Whether you are a farmers market shopper, a homesteader, or a passionate gardener, chances are you, too, have dreamed of living on a farm. This empowering, inspiring book will show you how to do it. Filled with stories of women across the country who are leading the farming revolution, it is an invaluable resource for anyone who dreams of the farming life.

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Woman-Powered Farm.

The Farmers Market

The farmers market is most often the primary source of sales for any beginning farmer. And some farmers know so well how to sell that they make their entire living selling at several farmers markets a week. Where your market is located and the quality of the management and customers will determine how big a part of your business the farmers market will be.

Our Saturday market is one of the biggest in Virginia; it has over 100 vendors and thousands of people shop there each week. Over the last five years, I’ve developed a loyal customer base of people that return year after year. I’d estimate that more than a third of my customers each week are “regulars.” And all of these customers, at one time or another, buy flowers from me outside the market.

The farmers market is not only a good revenue source, as you are selling your product direct to the consumer, but it’s also an advertisement for your farm and your products. Much of the wedding business I get comes from young couples and mothers browsing the farmers market to see which local flower and food vendors they might use for their wedding. Many are visiting the market this season to see what might be available a year from now. Even if I don’t get a sale from them right away, I may land a big wedding next year. I also get a lot of delivery and other special-event business from the market.

When you’re first starting out, you may have a hard time getting a space at the market. Most of the good markets are now very competitive and space is limited. You’ll have to prove yourself and your product. The first things you will want to do are (1) get in touch with the market manager and (2) satisfy all of the paperwork and other requirements. Also, send or drop off a sampling of your best product, even if the manager doesn’t ask for it.

4/29/2016 8:00:11 AM

Hi ! I am very interested in doing this same thing. My background is a chef in Toronto, Canada. I am an amature in the organic genre I have a small flat roof which I wish to turn into a Greenhouse and grow organic produce. How do i price products that are organic? Thank for your time ☺

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