Selling at a Farmers Market

Selling at a Farmers Market


Your apiary might produce the best-tasting honey in your area, but if you don’t get your honey to customers, no one’s going to know about it. A farmers’ market is an effective venue not only for direct sales but for getting the word out about your products and building a loyal customer base. These markets attract customers who are genuinely interested in purchasing products directly from farmers; they prefer natural foods to processed foods, and they enjoy talking with and getting to know growers and producers. Regular customers at these markets will become your best customers.

Renting a stall at a farmers’ market is affordable; daily rates can be as low as $25, and you can often rent on an annual basis for around $300. The markets are open at least one day a week (Saturdays are popular); if the market is open year-round, there may be a second opening day during the summer. One of the most famous farmers’ markets in the United States, Greenmarket at Union Square in the center of Manhattan, is open four days a week and attracts 60,000 people or more each day. If your apiary is within reasonable driving distance of New York City and you have lots of honey to sell, you might consider a full-time stall at this thriving market; Greenmarket organizers require you to fill out an application form, and fees vary depending on the size and specific location of your stall.

Because farmers’ market customers are knowledgeable about farm products and eager to learn more, provide lots of information at your stall. Design and produce an attractive brochure that describes your beekeeping operation, your personal interest in the occupation (how did you get started?), your philosophy and goals with regard to beekeeping, and your production methods. Include photographs, a map with directions to your apiary, and contact information. Also, have plenty of information about your specific products. If you sell bee pollen, put together another brochure describing the health benefits of this bee byproduct, even including some recipes or other tips for eating bee pollen granules.

Selling at a Farmers Market

Additionally, put little signs around your display areas pointing out the best features of your honey and other products. Prices should be well marked; customers are often suspicious of items that aren’t clearly priced. And if your labels don’t have full nutritional details, provide those too; unlike supermarket shoppers who making quick and spontaneous decisions, farmers’ market enthusiasts tend to read the nutritional information.

You can be a little loose with pricing. As mentioned, you should establish prices for all your products and mark them clearly, but if a customer purchases several items and tries to bargain, be prepared to offer a discount. Your stall and your direct interface with customers is not only an opportunity for sales: it’s a marketing tactic that over time will increase the total volume of your business. If there are other beekeepers at your market, be sure to compare prices; you don’t want to be too far off the mark, unless you are truly offering a specialty, high-value product. If you’re not getting sales, your prices may be too high; if you can afford to, try lowering them slightly the following week and see if the results are better.

Customers at farmers’ markets love to sample food, so be prepared to give samples. Have an open jar of honey, some bread, and a toaster (or something else that’s good to spread your honey on). A bite-sized piece of toast (say, a quarter of a slice) with a teaspoon of honey is enough for a free sample. People who sample often feel obligated to make a purchase; don’t discourage them! You might even prepare snacks and sell them for direct consumption. For instance, you can bring boxes of waffles that can be heated in a toaster, spread them with honey and top them off with sliced strawberries. Price it so you cover your costs and make a little profit; $2.50 is not too much to pay for a small waffle slathered with honey and topped with strawberries. Serve your snacks on small paper plates, but try to keep them sized to be easy finger food. If farmers’ markets have tables and chairs at all, they’re probably off in some distant corner, and it’s awkward for customers to struggle with plastic knives and forks while standing and holding bags filled with produce.

Be ready to talk about your honey, bee pollen, beeswax, and other products. Suggest ideas for how to eat your products; if a tablespoon of your honey goes well in a milkshake, say so. Provide suggestions, and don’t lead customers astray. If a customer admits to having frequent gastrointestinal problems, raw bee pollen granules might be tough on his digestive system; you should say so. The customer will be grateful for the advice, and may as a result purchase some honey. Most important, be cheerful and active; smile at people passing by. Be a salesperson. Don’t bury yourself behind the counter reading a magazine; if customers don’t see any activity at your stall, they may think that it’s unoccupied and pass right by.

Likewise, keep things tidy, and keep your shelves restocked; don’t display empty shelves. If you have a sampling area or are selling snacks, keep these areas clean; honey tends to attract insects, and you don’t want flies swarming around your stall. If your range of products is limited, you might consider joining forces with another seller to offer variety — working with a baker might be a good match, for instance.

Finally, keep careful accounts of what you spend and what you take in. You’ll want to be able to gauge how successful your market stall is, not only in creating buzz about your business but in financial terms too. Most beekeepers find that a stall at a farmers’ market makes sense for their business, and if you plan and maintain your stall properly, you’re likely to find success as well.

Now Foods Bee Pollen 500 mg 250 Caps

from: Universal Herbs Inc