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Why I DON’T Sell At Farmers Markets!

I’ve seen it over and over. A homestead has great aspirations of selling at the farmers market and after 2-3 years, they burn out.

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Comment (17)

  1. We’re set up for regular on farm sales here. It works well for us because there’s no way I can handle morning farm chores then make it to set up at a market. Last year, we began opening to the general public when we had extra milk and cheese products. We threw in some milk based soaps, jellies, extra produce, and people started coming. Recently, we began hosting a quarterly market with friends. All local producers, real food only, no crafts, no expenses, come sell to our community. It’s a smashing hit. Vendors and buyers all love it. It gives us some extra cash but it’s certainly not a regular income producer. My weekly customer base is what keeps us going.

  2. I can’t seem to find the links to download the books. Can you point me in the direction of that? Do we need to join your patreon to do that? Thanks so much!

  3. I tried selling plant starts and nobody wanted to buy them because they wanted to.go buy crafts and cute stuff. Ya forbid they grow their own food. Lol

  4. We have a decent market here. Twin cities combined population of about 12,000. One time fee of $25 per Saturday morning. Discount if you commit every Saturday in the season. Only thing they are strict about is that everything must be hand made/grown. No resale, second hand etc. They make sure it doesn’t become a flee market and limit non food items too. maybe 12 spots. We have a bakery/orchard, two produce and meat farms, mushroom farm, micro greens, goat milk soaps, beauty products /apothecary, photography, houseplants/seedlings, several handmade venders (alpaca fiber products) and when I get a good honey year I sell my honey. Lots of people show up and if you come close to noon the produce and bakery are close to sold out. Meat and eggs are gone by 10. My honey always goes fast. Close to the end vendors barter with each other too. Our town has a downtown sub committee who gets a volunteer to kind of oversee it but so far they don’t want the work to micromanage it.

  5. I was at a homesteading expo and one of the talks was about farmers markets. They do several and do really well, for like 12 years or something like that …. As soon as she said her “1,500 tomato plants” I thought oh no…. Not my thing!!

  6. We tried selling at the local Farmer’s Market one time years ago. Total waste of time for a hoard of people! I sat there and thought how everything being sold could have been handled by one person while a dozen of us were wasting a Saturday morning sitting with our little table of goods and nearly no shoppers. After moving to the city and being a food buyer, I never shop them because of the limited hours they are available and they are far off my errand path. It never coincides with my days out for errands. I avoid Saturday mornings when everyone is out. Huntington WV has The Wild Ramp, the most amazing 501(c)3 non-profit store/farmer’s market every town should have, a consignment year-round indoor farmers market open all day every day. The farmers and craftspeople get 80% of the sale and the city provides a gorgeous spacious building for $1 per year rent. It is the most beautiful place to shop!! Two walls of refrigerated and frozen cases for eggs, meat, dairy, etc. Each person prices and packages and displays their products in the space for that item. There are huge tables of in-season produce and lovely shelving areas of honey, maple syrup, handmade soap and body products, and other handmade crafts. They have a full-time chef that cooks with the meats and produce that are nearing expiration, paying the farmer their asking price, and then selling as fresh or frozen meals or desserts. It is a gorgeous store, so well managed, and amazing!! Let’s truly unite as communities and pool our resources and efforts in an efficient way. Far more profitable and well patronized in our community are the folks with honor system farmstands on the side of the road in front of their farm where they sell eggs and farm produce. We can stop when it works for us, select what we need, and drop the money in the locked mailbox or money box. Super nice and easy and they are always sold out!

  7. I have to sincerely disagree with you on this subject. Yes, it can be hard and difficult at times. Yes, some weekends are gonna be better than others. The venders that we buy from do very well and, we see these same ones every week. If you’re going into something without research and knowing what sells and doesn’t at a market then you will fail. People have this fairy tail that what they have is the best and it’s gonna sell out quickly. Wrong!! If you wanna go into a market you’ve never worked before, you better find out what others are selling for and be prepared to make a few enemies, because you’re gonna have to undercut them or have a incredible presentation that draws people to your tent/trailer. Anyways, always enjoy seeing your videos, keep up the good work and God bless.

  8. Couldn’t be more true, sadly. Farmers markets are definitely better as a side income or hobby unless you produce a lot of food. A local friend with a lot of land had good, organic produce to offer (and plenty of it) but he was barely breaking even, if that. It wasn’t sustaining him so he went into construction for his main income. Thank you for the dose of reality! Save people the headache and money, its much better to grow for your own family

  9. Our area is still lucrative for farmers markets, most all here allow a drop in vendor sign up so you can choose to go or not, and $40 a shot… I sell veggies and microgreens and make 3 to 4 hundred in 4 hours at the market each week… so for 40 a booth space and 6 bucks for parking …. I do ok… am I going to get rich… no but it also give me word of mouth customers outside of the markets too… shalomie homie

  10. We tried the Farmers Market, and it was a bit stressful. The “icing on the cake” was when we overheard another vendor talking bad about all the other vendors to the customers. My time is more precious than that.
    Now we just set up an honor-based stand when we feel the need … very little effort. That’s the only way I’ll sell produce or bread or anything else. My sister and her neighbors (rural Northern CA mountains) have a shelf set up on the highway at the edge of their dirt road – also honor-based.
    Well, I guess another way we successfully sold garden starts – when my children were still at home, I’d send them to set up a table and canopy on the highway in town and they always sold out … very handy before the boys started making more money.
    Shalom. Joanne in SW MO

  11. Marty and I used to just take the excess tomatoes and berries in to my work to sell. We looked into the local Farmers Market and the rules were ridiculous. What we couldn’t sell at work or use ourselves, we gave to family and the rest went to the Food Bank. They loved them, but I found out that it was the volunteers that were taking them not the patrons of the FB. That was fine with us, at least they didn’t go to waste.

  12. I just wanted to let you know I worked at a homeless shelter, it’s not that we didn’t want fresh fruits and vegetables. It’s that they went bad quickly and if you don’t have a home, you probably don’t have the means to cook fresh fruits and vegetables before they go bad …if you have a home, you may not have power.The last thing we wanted was unhealthy food …but it sure beat starvation.

  13. I disagree with you. I sell at a Farmers Market in Metro Atlanta and last year did almost six figures in income! I have been doing it for 7 years now. Its about what you sell and where you sell at. Produce doesn’t have a profit margin in it for a small producer, unless you have 1000’s of acres. Protein is the only way to make money.

  14. I have a small business, It honestly doesn’t really do much and I understand. You can either buy food or buy a product. I manufacture Model Trains, trucks, and cars. it is called Southbound Modelworks & Decal Company and I drive a truck for a living but you should check it out. I’m very happy with it.

  15. What are your thoughts about putting together a CSA or selling your produce through some sort of a food co-op?

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