Tag Archives: Farmers market

Tips for increasing traffic to your farmers market stand

GrowNYC, which sponsors the NYC greenmarket program, recently released a PDF entitled “Understanding Customer Behavior at Farmer’s Markets”. I read through it this morning and thought there were some great takeaways. It’s a great resource for anyone selling at farmers markets or a produce stand.

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Big takeaway- Do you step back and watch customers interact with your stall? Are you watching customer flow? After we had set up our stand and the market started, we would step across the aisle and watch customers. Our goal was to see how they moved by and hopefully through our stand. We would also “secret shop” our stands to see how employees where interacting with our customers.

 

Provide plenty of room inside the stall for customer movement. In retail science, there is something called “butt room”. Customers become uncomfortable when their personal space is invaded during a shopping experience and that can influence brand perception and future shopping habits.

 

Loyalty cards are great- customers always want to feel part of a “club” or “program”. Especially for staples which they can buy from anyone like salad mix, ground beef, or eggs, this can help drive sales.

 

Pile product high! If you can display 100 bunches of radishes, do!  It will help sales as people are drawn to abundance. Of course, then it can wilt, you might say.  Keep it looking fresh by spraying it down with water, we used something like this.

 

Selling meat or hot food presents special challenges. Many growers are using rolling ice cream freezers to keep meat frozen while still allowing customers to see the product. Having big, colorful posters displayed as well as offering samples can also boost displays.

 

You can read the entire report here.
What unique things do you do that help drive your farmers market sales?

Imagine…

Credit: Daily Gazette PHOTOGRAPHER: PETER R. BARBER

Credit: Daily Gazette PHOTOGRAPHER: PETER R. BARBER

Imagine.

Imagine a city that has a farm within the city limits. A large, 166-acre farm. A farm with around 120 acres of open farmland for growing crops, 40 acres of woods and streams with opportunities for silviculture, and several acres of outbuildings and farmyard. A place where community can learn, grow, and share in the excitement of food.
Imagine if this property was divided into several farms. One would be a large teaching farm that would bring in the nation’s best and brightest farmers to train the next generation of eager farmers. There could be classroom teaching time, but also plenty of space for students to actually get their hands dirty, to experiment, trial, and learn by doing. After students had graduated from the teaching farm, they could start their own incubator farms, a 1- to 3-acre plot where they would farm on their own, but with supervision from the staff at the school. Another possibility would be farmshare, where farmers could long-term lease 5-acre blocks of land.
Imagine if this farm had a large year-round farmhub building. This building serves as the region’s year-round farmers market, with wide corridors, plenty of parking, and heat in the winter. Also included is a 6-day-a-week store for the regions farm products, where after a farmers market, farmers can drop off their extra products for sale during the week. This will allow community members who can’t make a farmers market access to fresh, local products all week long.
Imagine if another aspect of this building would be crop storage and a processing kitchen. When farmers have extra tomatoes, basil or green beans, they could turn them into salsa, pesto or pickles. The storage facility would allow farmers in the area access a climate controlled storage and distribution facility.
Imagine if a large community garden was a part of this. Where community members from all socio-economic cultures and walks of life where invited to learn how to grow their own food. Where classes on beekeeping, orchard pruning, soil health, tomato pruning and more would happen. Where there would be access to water, compost, a mentor’s knowledge and more.
Imagine a location for summer camps to teach kids about farming and food, and how their food choices influence so many aspects of their life and their community. Where students from the surrounding high schools, colleges and technical schools could come out and learn how food is produced.
Imagine if this farm was landscaped beautifully, with fields of flowers and sunflowers, native plants and trees, windbreaks of curly and pussy willow, dogwood and redbud. That it had trails for walking, hiking, and cycling, picnic spots. Boardwalks along the stream and marsh, where families could check out the frogs, turtles and other wildlife that call it home.
Imagine, a blank slate, where the possibilities are endless, and we are allowed to dream and create  a very, very special place.
That is my vision. And Saratoga PLAN made the first step of that vision possible yesterday with a press conference announcing the planned purchase of the Pitney Farm on West Avenue in Saratoga Springs. We’ve been working on this project for five years now and we will continue to work on it for another 50. In fact, I don’t believe that it will reach its full potential in my lifetime. But that is why we are starting now, so that our children, and grandchildren can work this land for generations to come.
I want to thank fellow farmer Sandy Arnold, Saratoga Plan, and the Saratoga Institute for their part in helping all of this to come to fruition. We’re a great team, and I feel that the right players are at, and are being invited to, the table to make this work. We’re not sure what parts of our vision are feasible, and we will make the next year a time of research, discovery, and planning to see what is possible. Feel free to reach out with thoughts, ideas and concerns. We want the community’s involvement in this project.
Till next week,
Michael