The New Farmers’ Market

How to set one up

How to make a Farmers’ Market in your town succeed for everyone. Selling on your own is scary; and buying at a stall is different. This fun book is chock full of great advice about market smarts, guerilla marketing, niche marketing and having fun peddling good food to eager customers. Tons of “what’s worked” for many others. And if you haven’t been to a local one lately, check one out.

-- KK 10/17/03


"Making Lemonade from lemons." For example, when drought in '91 left the couple swamped with golfball-sized potatoes, they promoted them as gourmet "PeeWee Potatoes" in $2 pint boxes. The lemonade theory worked in other ways, too. They put 8-10 peppers of various colors that were too small to sell individually into $1 "Bag O'Peppers." They almost always sold out, Peterson notes.


Farmers' markets offer:

minimal marketing start-up costs - requires only truck and selling area;
exemption from standard size and pack regulations (at most markets);
little or no packaging, advertising and promotion costs - farmers' markets are usually well established and centrally located;
better prices - substantially higher than wholesale; and
immediate, direct feedback. Customers are the best ones to tell you about price, quality, variety preferences, and ideas for other crops to plant.


One Southern California farmer was considering pulling out his exotic chocolate fuyu persimmon trees, but when he tried selling them at the Santa Monica Farmer's Market, at least 80% of those who tried his samples bought a bag! Instead of ten flats a week on the wholesale market, he was moving a full truckload because of direct consumer contacts and aggressive sampling.

An intriguing press release may focus on a unique, humorous event which has human interest. Be sure to set the scene with a specific reference to the visuals that a photographer or news team can capture as at this individually oriented, all-you-can-carry pumpkin contest (Santa Monica FM) for $5.

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