How To Run A Farmers' Market Stall
A farmers’ market, as its name suggests, is a market where local farmers, growers or producers are present in person to sell their own produce, direct to the public. According to the FARMA guidelines (National Farmers’ Retail & Market Association), all products sold should have been ‘grown, reared, caught, brewed, pickled, baked, smoked or processed by the stall-holder’. If you have something that you think would fit this criteria, check the website for details of markets in your area, and contact the organisers, as only local producers are eligible.
What you'll need:
A stall table
A waterproof canopy
The advantage of starting a small business at a farmers’ market means low stall charges, and to begin with, only short opening hours (10.00-12.00) on one day a week.
Since farmers’ markets are advertised in most local newspapers, there are no additional advertising costs.
All produce offered for sale must use at least one ingredient grown or reared within the defined local area, i.e. local eggs used in baking cakes; local vegetables used for pickling, jams or chutney; home grown herbs.
The producer (or a close family member) must attend the stall, which gives the opportunity to interact with customers on a regular basis.
Be prepared to turn up weekly whatever the weather, as market shoppers get used to buying from a regular stallholder and will expect to see the same faces every time.
Make sure you can provide enough produce to fill a stall on a regular basis throughout the year. Try to think of a spin-off from your regular produce that will cover any ‘out of season’ or slack period.
Shoppers are becoming more interested in the food they eat, so prepare A5 leaflets as hand-outs, that tells them about who you are and what’s on offer.
People are finding that they prefer the taste of fresh food and are doing their weekly shop at farmers’ markets because the food is much fresher (and cheaper) than any supermarket can offer. As a result, the markets are becoming a normal part of shopping and can be a modest stepping stone to greater things.
Make the stall bright and crisp looking to give the impression of a farmhouse kitchen; or make it rustic with fresh straw and wooden crates/boxes.
If your produce is in the food line, prepare mini-tasters to attract shoppers to the stall.
To offer some protection from wind and rain invest in a canvass canopy for the stall area, which should be strong enough to cope with winter weather. This will keep both the stall holder and the produce dry – and act as a windbreak.