I get a lot of requests to join farmers markets. I have never sold any of my farm products that way.
So what I’m going to share does not stem from my experience with farmers markets. I realize many farm products are sold that way. They have never really fit into the type of marketing I do.
To me they are a form of a small retail store. I have never wanted a small store to sell from.
I’ve had farmers who have told me their goal was to get big enough that could open a small store and sell that way. I always think “Why would you want to do that?”
For me it represents a huge amount of time and labor that must be devoted to running the store. Keeping displays in order and appealing, as well as maintaining store conditions at peak levels.
Then you have the challenge of the overhead that needs to be paid by customers coming in the front door and actually buying something. That means a huge amount of risk and investment that I have no desire to put forth.
The farmers market is different in that it’s a collection of farmers all sharing the cost to have a piece of the sales.
But you still have to be there and work to get the sales. Not to mention you hope you can get the traffic you need to sell enough volume in order to make it worth your time.
How much control does the farmer have over the traffic at a market?
You’ve got to haul all the product to the market and hope you can sell it or you’re going to haul it home. I don’t want to handle product that much. I would rather have the product go from the slaughterhouse to the end customer. At the most from the processor to the farm and then to the customer.
I also wonder what you do with the cuts that people don’t to buy. For instance I had a farmer tell me recently that he used to sell a ton of pork loins but now they don’t move nearly as well as they used to. I guess maybe you go about it like the local grocery store and mark it down or put it on sale.
I know customers are accustomed to this type of grocery store buying but I wonder how profitable it really is for the farmer.
I know many of them are open on the weekends. I don’t want to spend my weekends sitting at a booth selling cuts of meat. I suppose I could hire someone to operate the market but then that means lower profits or higher prices to cover the added overhead.
Don’t get me wrong, if you market at farmers markets and like it I’m fine with that. I just think I have found better ways to get my products to the customer that are convenient, cost effective, and much less risk to me.
After all, we’re in this direct farm-marketing gig to make the customer happy and make a living.
I’ve managed to do that and never be at a farmers market!
Until next time….
Ps I outline how I do this in my soon to be released ebook, “The Secrets of Selling Your Farm Products Revealed.”