The growing season has been excellent for some crops. The cole crops, beets, carrots, peas, potatoes, onions and the early summer staples including beans, summer squashes and cukes have produced heavy yields. CSA customers are beginning to say “Enough!” The table at Farmers Market is loaded. Many vegetable vendors at Farmers Market are going home with unsold produce. I do just one market and direct some of the extras to Tillers International. Discussion among some vendors about slashing prices to move extra produce is heard. This is a tough issue with many small growers; do we slash prices to move product or maintain solid pricing to meet our needed income?
I’ve found that maintaining prices on things I do well with and have loyal customers for is necessary. For many of the seasonal items oversupplied at Market, it is worthwhile to offer specials. The last few weeks have seen a huge potato crop at market. At first I held my price since I offer top quality potatoes and sort and pack carefully. But I lost sales. So this past week I offered quantity discounts, added 2nd’s to the table at deep discounts and told all that passed by the great specials I had that week. Sales rebounded and I almost sold out of potatoes. A situation where marketing in a different way with a big crop, reflected a lower price but higher net revenue.
The Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners has a price list that I was told about by colleague Gina W. at Tillers. http://www.mofga.org/Default.aspx?tabid=260 She indicated that this is a bench mark for her pricing. Here in Michigan it is nice to see where the East Coasters are pricing. I’ve found the listing quite different from what we achieve. High quality produce, well displayed and packaged sells at a premium to the list. Items of oversupply are at a discount during peak season and the marketers’ skill can also add a premium to the list. I would think Maine has different seasons and supply dynamics that add other dimensions. Interesting things to ponder. I do know that when I’m dog tired I can’t muster the energy to present my products they don’t sell themselves very well…