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This is my first year into the world of farmer's markets.  That being said, I need all the input anyone with experience can give me.

 

I have plenty of growing space so that is not a factor.  My concern is undergrowing / overgrowing on the crops, particularly on early crops.  I have large amounts (50+) each of brassica seedlings and plan on lots of turnip greens, mustard greens, spinach, etc.

 

How much of what?  I will donate any leftovers but don't want to go loaded for bear and only find a rabbit.

 

Thanks and good gardening...

 

Tommy

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I am in the same predicament you are in. I am trying to decide how much is enough/too much. I plan to plant heavily the things that I know that I can utilize should it not sell well at market. We are slowly trying to expand our horizons. We have been offering raw milk, eggs, pastured poultry, and pork for several years. Last year we put up a greenhouse and started offering seedlings in the spring. This will be our first year expanding into fresh produce for market. We shall see, I guess.
This is the $50,000 question.
Michael & I worked farmers markets all of last year with mixed results. It was amazingly difficult to predict what would sell, which markets on which days would be good, how much of what, etc.
Did you know that Amanda Millsap Owen is starting Homegrown Foods? Her number is 417-459-1698. This is going to be an online farmers market of sorts. Like homegrocer.com was but with all locally produced, naturally grown produce and products.
If you haven't already, I would suggest you give Amanda a call.
Teri Leigh
Thank you for the information. I have a call in to Amanda now. I still have my hypertufa planters and some other things for markets. I'd sure rather sell through her than fight all the tax, no tax, units of measure on produce and all that good stuff.

Teri Leigh Baird said:
This is the $50,000 question.
Michael & I worked farmers markets all of last year with mixed results. It was amazingly difficult to predict what would sell, which markets on which days would be good, how much of what, etc.
Did you know that Amanda Millsap Owen is starting Homegrown Foods? Her number is 417-459-1698. This is going to be an online farmers market of sorts. Like homegrocer.com was but with all locally produced, naturally grown produce and products.
If you haven't already, I would suggest you give Amanda a call.
Teri Leigh
Teri,

I talked with Amanda earlier today. It sounds like a pretty good deal. I will look in to it further. Thanks for the tip.

Teri Leigh Baird said:
This is the $50,000 question.
Michael & I worked farmers markets all of last year with mixed results. It was amazingly difficult to predict what would sell, which markets on which days would be good, how much of what, etc.
Did you know that Amanda Millsap Owen is starting Homegrown Foods? Her number is 417-459-1698. This is going to be an online farmers market of sorts. Like homegrocer.com was but with all locally produced, naturally grown produce and products.
If you haven't already, I would suggest you give Amanda a call.
Teri Leigh
Tommy this is our 3rd year at the Greater Springfield Farmers market and how much is always a big issue. Like with so much of learnng , there is a good deal of "jump in with both feet" that no one can relieve a person from experiencing first hand.
So my verteran advice is "just do it." Take some of what you have get into a Farmer's Market and see what happens. You will have unique experiences like we did. One week I took some beet tops and people almost fought over them. The next week I took more and no one was interested. My fellow vendors all have experienced the same thing in a wide variety of products.
There are too many variables in my opinion to have someone give you a formula and just like growing the plants and products it just takes time. To start only take what you can afford to lose.
Be patient with yourself and the market. It may take a full season for you to even get an idea. This isn't meant to be negative it's just reality. The market changes each week. As the weather changes so do people. If your sales skills and people skills are developed then you will have better success than if you need to develop them.
Working with people is the main goal in marketing your product. In time you will attract more customers. Certain folks will just take to you, so you are selling yourself, not just your product. People want to know their farmer now more than ever. The recent article about Canning Classes in the Springfield News leader. The lady who has been teaching these clases for years asks her students. Why they came to learn this lost antique art. Some said to save money. But the most common response was " They wanted to know where their food came from and what was in it."
Each recession spawns a new group of gardeners and canners trying to save money, but when the recession goes away so do most of them.
This distrust of corporate factory produced food will not go away. So let them know you are using safe practices to provide wholesome food.
Learn as you go is about the only Real way in the end. Feel free to come out to our Markets and talk with vendors it will be entertaining to hear their stories of getting going and what works for them.
Thanks Charles,

Some really good info and I do appreciate your input.

Charles said:
Tommy this is our 3rd year at the Greater Springfield Farmers market and how much is always a big issue. Like with so much of learnng , there is a good deal of "jump in with both feet" that no one can relieve a person from experiencing first hand.
So my verteran advice is "just do it." Take some of what you have get into a Farmer's Market and see what happens. You will have unique experiences like we did. One week I took some beet tops and people almost fought over them. The next week I took more and no one was interested. My fellow vendors all have experienced the same thing in a wide variety of products.
There are too many variables in my opinion to have someone give you a formula and just like growing the plants and products it just takes time. To start only take what you can afford to lose.
Be patient with yourself and the market. It may take a full season for you to even get an idea. This isn't meant to be negative it's just reality. The market changes each week. As the weather changes so do people. If your sales skills and people skills are developed then you will have better success than if you need to develop them.
Working with people is the main goal in marketing your product. In time you will attract more customers. Certain folks will just take to you, so you are selling yourself, not just your product. People want to know their farmer now more than ever. The recent article about Canning Classes in the Springfield News leader. The lady who has been teaching these clases for years asks her students. Why they came to learn this lost antique art. Some said to save money. But the most common response was " They wanted to know where their food came from and what was in it."
Each recession spawns a new group of gardeners and canners trying to save money, but when the recession goes away so do most of them.
This distrust of corporate factory produced food will not go away. So let them know you are using safe practices to provide wholesome food.
Learn as you go is about the only Real way in the end. Feel free to come out to our Markets and talk with vendors it will be entertaining to hear their stories of getting going and what works for them.

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