Every farmer knows that there’s no better place to sell your fresh produce than at a local farmer’s market. Although the competition can be stiff at times, farmer’s markets provide fantastic opportunities to interact with members of your community and advertise your business simultaneously.
Outside of contracts with small businesses, you can unload any overstock that you yield during the primary growing season and quickly turn a profit by selling at a farmer’s market. However, there are a few things you need to do before you can become a proper vendor. With this in mind, here is your guide on how to become a vendor at a local farmer’s market.
Create a List of all the Materials You Need
Before applying to become a vendor at your next local event, you should make a list of all the materials you need and obtain each item on the list. Working at a farmer’s market is hard, but it will be even more complicated if you are missing essential items.
Gather your produce and make sure you can safely transport it to the event. For example, if you plan on selling tomatoes, purchase high-quality tomato packaging supplies
to avoid damaging your precious crops before arrival.
Other items you will want include a display case and possibly a table or stand if the local market doesn’t provide one already. All of your hard work will pay off as the sales start coming in.
Make the Decision on What To Sell
This decision shouldn’t be too tricky if you specialize in just one crop, but if you grow a variety of them, then you need to decide which one you want to focus on for your stand. Vendors at farmer’s markets typically sell one of the following: baked goods, fresh produce, meat, fish, hot and cold drinks, or homemade goods such as salsa or jelly.
Whichever product you decide to sell, make sure to market it creatively so that your stand will stand out at the event. Some farmer’s markets have restrictions on what you can and can’t sell at the event, so be sure to check before deciding on what you want your focus to be.
For instance, if they only allow farmers to sell freshly grown food, avoid bringing your famous apple pie. If the restrictions are a dealbreaker, search for other farmer’s markets in your area that are more friendly towards sellers.
Obtain All the Required Licenses and Certifications for Selling Food
As a food vendor, you need to get certified to ensure the health and safety of your customers. Municipalities sometimes have strict laws against selling homemade food, which is why some farmer’s markets don’t allow them at all.
To save yourself the trouble down the road, learn about any and all potential health hazards related to food and follow all the proper procedures and guidelines. Ensure that every piece of equipment you use when handling your food is sterile and doesn’t carry any germs.
If the safety requirements are too strict, try to sell an item with fewer restrictions so you can focus on selling. A certification from a health board or government agency often comes with an inspection from a licensed official, so be on the lookout for anything that could potentially banish you from vending. Any health code violations will not only bar you from selling at the farmer’s market, but they can also lead to less consumer satisfaction in your business.
Reach Out To Event Organizers Beforehand
Whether it’s one person or an entire committee, reaching out to whoever organizes the farmer’s market is a smart way to ensure that you follow all the necessary guidelines before the event occurs. The event organizer should be knowledgeable of all the rules that you must follow to become a vendor.
Sometimes, this process necessitates a formal interview to convince the owner or board that your business is worthy. If this is the case, prepare your sales pitch in advance so you will have a better chance of acing the interview. Your interview also gives you a chance to ask event organizers pressing questions about customer attendance, costs associated with the application, and any insurance that the market covers for liability.
Another thing to consider before the farmer’s market is whether it will take place under a tent or outdoors. If nothing is covering your stand, you will want to have a backup plan in case of inclement weather.
Additionally, although most farmer’s markets are cooperative by nature, business is business after all, so think of ways to make yours stand out. Especially if other vendors are selling the food that you sell, getting lost in the mix could make all your hard work not worth the effort.
Plan the Layout of Your Stand
After receiving approval from the event organizers, now it’s time for you to plan out how you want to set up your stand. A standard setup will include a table, chairs, sign, food display, and a tent for staying in the shade or covering you from the rain.
Cash is king, so bring a container or safe to hold the money and protect your profits. However, accepting credit cards will expand your avenues for receiving profit.
There are smartphone applications that allow you to process credit card transactions as long as you have the necessary equipment. Whatever the case may be, make it easier for your customer, so they can buy as much as they want.
Set Up Your Stand and Have Fun
On the day of the event, be sure to get there early to ensure that everything goes according to plan, especially if this is your first farmer’s market. After setting up the stand to your satisfaction, draw customers in by greeting each individual that walks past your stand.
You want to appear jovial and inviting, so be sure to smile as much as you can and exude positivity. Complimenting attendees as they walk by is a fantastic method for drawing attention to your stand and keeping everyone happy at the event.
Overall, becoming a vendor at a farmer’s market is challenging, but worthwhile in the long run. Now that you know how to become a vendor at a local farmer’s market, it’s time to start preparing!