Farmers Market Season

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If you'd like to share your thoughts on our "Farmers Market Season" newsletter, please do so here. We'd love to hear what you think!

By: Dennis & Elaine Kist | Jul 30, 2012 02:31 AM | Permalink
As a vender selling meat at 3 different Colorado Farmer's Markets, I have to say this year has brought many changes to the markets, and not for the better. There are so few actual farmers or producers of anything, it is sad. Most of the FM sales go to prepared, market fast food, hot dogs, nachos, etc. and "sheet sets $25.00 any size".

We raise grass finished yak and lamb. We also raise pork that is fed a ration of non GMO, no corn, no soy, no meat by-products, that we have to buy out of state because we could only find one place that had such a high quality pig feed. Our pigs are also pastured.

It is very difficult to have shoppers frown at 5.00 doz eggs, also fed the above chicken version, while they are holding a $4.50 latte and their kids are eating a hot dog and chips that cost $7.00. I guess we are producing high quality products whos time hasn't come yet. Even though our prices are lower than most grass finished beef we have seen.

By: Jake Brach | Jul 27, 2012 01:26 PM | Permalink
Shopping at the Farmers Market is a great way to get aquainted with Farmers, and all of the things they have to offer. As a bonus you will gain a better understanding of your community, and the world around you. There may be some great things going on in your own "backyard", that you didn't know existed. For more tips, and stories from farmers markets, follow me on facebook at "the sustainable chef".

Jake

By: Emily Stevenson | Jul 27, 2012 01:08 PM | Permalink
Loved the suggestions, another I would add would be to respect the opening/closing times of the market or farm stand. Likely your farmer has been up since sunrise picking vegetables, often before, and is rushing to get set up by the opening time. It's the WORST time of the week to try and get to know your farmer and get good deals. Ditto for closing time- things need to be packed up, the farmer needs to get home to tend the animals, etc. Treat the market hours as you would an appointment for your doctor or mechanic, and try to be on time.

I also second (or third?) the advice about change. I have customers who save up all their $1 bills for market day in case I'm low on change...it can be a real blessing when all I've been seeing is $20's!

And $50 or $100 bills are OK, if you're planning on spending about that :) Expecting your farmer to be making $30 in change or more is often not possible. If you're unsure of how much cash to bring, take your checkbook along, too, since many farmers that don't take plastic are happy to take personal checks.

Cass Isaacson says:    (Jul 29, 2012 12:00 AM)

I don't know about farmers being up picking. I have kind of lost my thrill for farmers market as I discovered most is NOT local. Big let down for me. Really wish I had ask about local fruits n veggies long ago. What a let down for me as I have shopped there for years. But never ask where things were grown. Then one day you ask the vendors well what is MI grown-? Well the strawberries, and one or two other things . Oh I see. Any tomatoes yet- its June- No , no Mi grown tomatoes yet., green beans? No. Well what about peaches and those blueberries look yummy. No not MI grown sorry. I walked away feeling very let down. There will be some MI grown but kind of set me back. If you are looking for MI grown or local make sure to ask don't just assume

By: Jan Dawson | Jul 27, 2012 12:21 AM | Permalink
As a vendor at our local Farmers' Market, just wanted to say this was a GREAT newsletter! All your suggestions/comments were right on target. We love talking with our customers about our product, recipes, growing methods, suggestions (from them, too!!), etc. Your site has brought many responses from our community! Thanks for all you do!

By: rhonda schnacky | Jul 26, 2012 11:27 PM | Permalink
As a vendor I would like to add that please don't bring $100.00 bills first thing in the morning and expect vendors to make change. This happens quite a bit at our market. Small bills are great!

By: marla borders | Jul 26, 2012 09:50 PM | Permalink
As a customer, don't expect the farmers to drop their prices towards the end of day. A lot of farmers will take that produce home to preserve for themselves, after all, they have to eat too. I've been a farmers market vendor since 2000, and with the economy being down for the last few years, I've heard major TV shows tell customers to try to buy at the end of market and to EXPECT to get lower prices then.

I've kept track of my income and expenses, along with the number of hours that I've had to work. When I figured it all out, I barely made $2.00 per hour, then someone wants me to lower my prices, don't think so. I try to price my produce at a reasonable price depending upon labor involved and all the other expenses.

By: Beth Nowak | Jul 26, 2012 08:46 PM | Permalink
I could not agree more with the suggestions for shopping at a farmers market. The only one I would add is to take some small bills. Many vendors do not take cards, and find it difficult to make change when faced with a deluge of $20.00 bills, the only ones put out by ATMs. I am a market organizer and my family has sold, and made its only income from marketing, for 33 years. There have been many changes, but asking questions, and being respectful to the vendors and products always gets shoppers more information and better results.

By: Mike Lawson | Jul 26, 2012 07:10 PM | Permalink
Loved the tips you gave for shopping the local farmer's markets.

We grow and sell at several local markets and really appreciate all our customers.

2 of your tips really stood out to me: 1..Asking the farmers about their growing methods is definitely important! If a farmer doesn't want to talk about growing methods you have the wrong farmer.

And # 2. Respecting the amount of time vendors spend (outside of the 4 hrs of marketing) planning, growing, picking, & cleaning.

By: debbie hill | Jul 26, 2012 06:23 PM | Permalink
I am a former market vendor, and agree with Susan and John that your suggestions were very good. I like to "get to know" my customers and appreciate them. I have been on the receiving end of some nasty and/or stupid comments from people, and your advise is right on target there as well....they don't have to buy, if they don't want to! No need to be nasty or condescending, good grief! :) We do the best we can with what we got! It's all worth it though, at the end of the day I have new "friends" and a little more money in the bank! Thanks for the great article!

By: Susan and John Kopacz | Jul 26, 2012 05:45 PM | Permalink
As a farmer who sells at a local farmers' market, your tips for first-time buyers were right on the money! We enjoy discussing our produce, our farming methods, and our recipes with our customers. One of the best parts of selling at a local market is seeing familiar faces each weekend. I know that if they come back, they must have liked it! I try to remember names and what they bought, in order to let them know I appreciate their business and their support.

By: Dennis Berry | Jul 26, 2012 05:43 PM | Permalink
We love farmers markets. The Waxhaw market is a growers only market so we get to talk to the farmers them selves. We also support the Lake Park Farmers Market which purchases produce from local farmers!


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