Where can you find some of the freshest produce? On stands at a farmers’ market. But, many supermarkets frown upon farmers’ markets, seeing them merely as gatherings for growers, as well as being their competition. Rather, they should be thought of as a way to help boost a store’s business.
A savvy natural products store with the right arrangement can host farmers’ markets at their store thereby encouraging farmers and shoppers to become regulars.
Whether hosting a farmers’ market in- or outdoors, organizing it can be profitable. you should determine the location of where your farmers’ market will take place, what your customers’ needs are and what the supply will be.
Location. A key to having a successful farmers’ market is pinpointing a good location (2). Since each locale is different and has various zoning laws, it is important to individually survey each area of interest. Also, operating permits may be needed, so it is best to check with your Chamber of Commerce for more information.
Demand. It can only help you to know your customers’ preferences. This will assist you with finding farmers that supply the products you are seeking to sell. An excellent way to find out what customers are buying is by checking data from your inventory. you can also research produce sales and marketing reports. Also, you may want to call good clients on the telephone for their preferences or mai l questionnaires (2).
Supply. The lifeblood of a farmers’ market is exhibitors, so be sure to contact them well in advance, as farmers plan their markets when their seeds are ordered (2). Contacting your local Department of Agriculture or the Cooperative Extension Service, Farm Bureau also is a great place to start if you are unsure how to contact sellers.
Variety. Customers love to have a variety of offerings to choose from. So, plan on having at least three farmers along with merchants who sell smaller supplies in attendance (2). Local goods (like jellies and pickles) are great farmers’ market fare, too. WF
1. P. Lempert, “Facts, Figures & The Future, Do Farmers’ Markets Grow On you? ,” h t t p : / / ap p . sub s c r i b e rma i l . c om/ dspcd.cfm?ec=945c6461d2b649469505eb6f30de375e&email=5145b30b993 047859d0d8142e59d9a18, accessed July 27, 2010.
2. Commonwealth of Massachusetts, “How to Organize and Run a Successful Farmers’ Market,” www.mass.gov/agr/markets/farmersmarkets/ Start_a_market.htm, accessed July 26, 2010.
Published in WholeFoods Magazine, September 2010