Farmer Market

Phaedra Geiermann

Deeply Rooted
Joined
Jun 26, 2021
Messages
807
Reaction score
3,611
Points
155
Location
Schleiden, Germany
A few days ago, on the way to the discounter, I saw a sign of our town's coming farmer's market. And then, we got a 4x4 (meter) booth!

It's an annual local activity with about 50 booths, and only residents can register.

I am excited about it because nowadays, many such activities have nothing to do with "local" - many of them are vendors from everywhere. Even the local farms, they sell vegetables or processed products from other European countries. Once, I saw people selling gingers! Even though a few farmers in southern Germany started to plant gingers, at that moment, it was just impossible for that farm to get fresh local gingers. And yes, the gingers they sold were also from China.

So gradually, I lost interest to visit those "farmer markets."

However, the event we will participate in seems to be a real, local one. We are told that homegrown veggies, flowers, or eggs are very welcome and exactly what people are looking for.

So I plan to sell some bouquets arranged from my cut flower patch, chicken and quail eggs; mixed salads; herb tea, and handmade candles made from soy wax and bee wax. Mmm, maybe also some seedlings~

It's a small booth, but DH and DD will both participate. It will be our first time, but I am looking for it.

Do you have experience participating in such activities?
 
Last edited:

flowerbug

Garden Master
Joined
Oct 15, 2017
Messages
12,217
Reaction score
14,943
Points
357
Location
mid-Michigan, USoA
a nearby town has a weekend where everyone does rummage sales so one year i took a small table, chair and some beans to sell to a friend's place where she was having a rummage sale. i sold one bag of beans. obviously not the right venue for that. the seed swaps were more useful and more in line with my goal of getting bean seeds to gardeners.

with the pictures you've posted here i'm sure you'll do much better. :) you have a lot of nice crafts and arrangements.
 

digitS'

Garden Master
Joined
Dec 13, 2007
Messages
23,039
Reaction score
18,977
Points
457
Location
border, ID/WA(!)
Our experience as vendors was for several years, Phaedra.

I had experience with the commercial production and sale of flowers. The greenhouse where I worked had one person who could do arrangements and when I went on to work at a wholesale outfit, small assortments of flowers were put together and sold to supermarkets. Even after years of being around that activity, I would have been hard pressed to arrange a presentable bouquet. However, I could offer some guidance to DW and grow flowers especially for cutting. With a garden of limited size, flowers can be a good choice as a "cash crop."

Garden vegetables can also be grown so that there is an excess beyond personal need. Salad vegetables are a good choice and provide a higher price from a small amount of ground. They do require some processing but not as much as for making bouquets of flowers.

So, there is work at home beyond growing and harvest even before farmers' market vendors show up onsite with their public offerings. A schedule becomes very important as does transportation if this will be any kind of a regular activity. Some vendors only focus on certain crops during a limited season. This is characteristic of actual farmers who may supplement their wholesale income with direct sales to consumers. That is a difficult combination for them to play. Those vendors often have only a limited role at "farmers' " markets where the customers are expecting to show up every week and find many different products available. Seasonality is something of a difficult concept for a modern consumer to accept given our experience with worldwide transportation.

Market management may also have trouble understanding seasonal production and availability of produce. My advice is to avoid participating in places that are not "grower only." Otherwise, the vendor is in direct competition with companies that supply supermarkets. It may be that they will just pay a worker to load a truck and sell the exact same products. BTW, the savvy consumer isn't fooled and may take their business where they can find local products.

Steve
 

Rhodie Ranch

Garden Master
Joined
Nov 19, 2009
Messages
3,021
Reaction score
4,167
Points
333
Location
Southern Oregon
I was a soap maker for several years. Real soap, made with lye and olive oil. I was a vendor in the local farmer's market for two years. It was $7 a time. But I gave up cus it was soooooooo dang hot (90's to 100 degrees F) and it was held on Friday afternoons. I did enjoy talking to folks about real soap though.

I also did craft fairs, and did so-so on them. The entry fee was steep, usually $100, to benefit some charity. I did OK on those.

I still have all my supplies and know that they are now double in price from when I bought them all. I should sell some of it after I move this month.
 

Phaedra Geiermann

Deeply Rooted
Joined
Jun 26, 2021
Messages
807
Reaction score
3,611
Points
155
Location
Schleiden, Germany
a nearby town has a weekend where everyone does rummage sales so one year i took a small table, chair and some beans to sell to a friend's place where she was having a rummage sale. i sold one bag of beans. obviously not the right venue for that. the seed swaps were more useful and more in line with my goal of getting bean seeds to gardeners.

with the pictures you've posted here i'm sure you'll do much better. :) you have a lot of nice crafts and arrangements.
Thanks, I didn't expect such an activity, so I didn't seriously plan for that. I thought these two days - most of the young plants I sowed this year for the cut flower patch were not yet ready to blossom. The farmer market is on June 12th, and it means I will need to harvest flowers on June 10th morning, condition them till June 11th morning, arrange bouquets on the 11th evening, and finally go to market on the 12th morning.

I am aware of most of the preparations and have everything I will need; however, it's still the first time, and it will happen in less than two weeks -- 90% excitement + 10% worry, I guess.

I followed some Youtubers who run their small-scale farm business; I never really want to do that yet, but for an annual market, it should be okay.

Next year I will be prepared; seedlings are something else I want to sell. I enjoy seeing them grow, but there is never enough space to plant them. 🤣 This year I have two gardens and two neighbors to share all the young plants - it's something giving me multiple joy.
 

Phaedra Geiermann

Deeply Rooted
Joined
Jun 26, 2021
Messages
807
Reaction score
3,611
Points
155
Location
Schleiden, Germany
Our experience as vendors was for several years, Phaedra.

I had experience with the commercial production and sale of flowers. The greenhouse where I worked had one person who could do arrangements and when I went on to work at a wholesale outfit, small assortments of flowers were put together and sold to supermarkets. Even after years of being around that activity, I would have been hard pressed to arrange a presentable bouquet. However, I could offer some guidance to DW and grow flowers especially for cutting. With a garden of limited size, flowers can be a good choice as a "cash crop."

Garden vegetables can also be grown so that there is an excess beyond personal need. Salad vegetables are a good choice and provide a higher price from a small amount of ground. They do require some processing but not as much as for making bouquets of flowers.

So, there is work at home beyond growing and harvest even before farmers' market vendors show up onsite with their public offerings. A schedule becomes very important as does transportation if this will be any kind of a regular activity. Some vendors only focus on certain crops during a limited season. This is characteristic of actual farmers who may supplement their wholesale income with direct sales to consumers. That is a difficult combination for them to play. Those vendors often have only a limited role at "farmers' " markets where the customers are expecting to show up every week and find many different products available. Seasonality is something of a difficult concept for a modern consumer to accept given our experience with worldwide transportation.

Market management may also have trouble understanding seasonal production and availability of produce. My advice is to avoid participating in places that are not "grower only." Otherwise, the vendor is in direct competition with companies that supply supermarkets. It may be that they will just pay a worker to load a truck and sell the exact same products. BTW, the savvy consumer isn't fooled and may take their business where they can find local products.

Steve
Thanks Steve; your feedback is so informative!

Last year was the first year I was more serious about building my cut flower patch. One of the reasons is that when I planted so many vegetables, we had trouble eating all of them. Thankfully, our chickens helped a lot. :lol:

So I took the chance to improve and started with perennial flowers - peonies, roses, lilies, and different kinds of bulbs. This spring, I invested in one rare peony that I fell in love with at first sight. I knew it would take years for a bare root peony to bear flowers, but most of the waiting would be worthy.

1654109258825.png


Besides, I also started noticing/growing plants that can provide lovely filler flowers, foliage, and fruits. My tolerance for weeds is also dramatically increased - some offer greens for the chickens, and some can be taken as beautiful fillers. Grout weed is one of them. Before I finally planted the wild carrot variety that produces burgundy red flowers this spring, the flowers from grout weed (also from the Apiales family) were always wonderful fillers in the early summer bouquets.

The flowers in German supermarkets are already quite cheap, but they all look the same. The homegrown flowers are much more distinctive in many aspects, kind of more connections with the grower.

The flowers I just cut this evening and let them rest overnight for conditioning. I hope I can arrange at least ten bouquets for this coming market. Another thing I might try this year will be the dried flowers.

4758.jpg


For the vegetables, I am not interested in competing with all the discounters or farms around us. Therefore, I decided to make just some mixed salad bags - they could be sold alone or be part of a combo bundle with eggs or bouquets.

Mmm, I will start preparing things this coming weekend!
 

Phaedra Geiermann

Deeply Rooted
Joined
Jun 26, 2021
Messages
807
Reaction score
3,611
Points
155
Location
Schleiden, Germany
I was a soap maker for several years. Real soap, made with lye and olive oil. I was a vendor in the local farmer's market for two years. It was $7 a time. But I gave up cus it was soooooooo dang hot (90's to 100 degrees F) and it was held on Friday afternoons. I did enjoy talking to folks about real soap though.

I also did craft fairs, and did so-so on them. The entry fee was steep, usually $100, to benefit some charity. I did OK on those.

I still have all my supplies and know that they are now double in price from when I bought them all. I should sell some of it after I move this month.
Yeah, please make some and enjoy making them again. 😍

I thought about making soap once, but in the end, I chose to make candles first. I used candles almost every day, especially after Autumnal Equinox.

But making soap also looks much fun - I wish one day I will give myself a try!
 

Phaedra Geiermann

Deeply Rooted
Joined
Jun 26, 2021
Messages
807
Reaction score
3,611
Points
155
Location
Schleiden, Germany
I started the preparation!
I sowed quite early this year the winter vegetables, a bit too early. However, they will be in a perfect size to sell next Sunday.

The immediately available young plants I have:
Purple Broccoli Claret F1 (for harvest in April, 2023)
Flower Sprout Autumn Star F1
Butterfly Peas
Mints
Sage

And I like the idea to use paper cups as containers. We bought a lot of them during the flood last summer and used to provide warm soup and coffee/tea to the neighborhood. I am happy to find a purpose for these disposable tableware.
3180.jpg
 

Latest posts

Top