Saturday, May 25, 2013

First Farmer's Market

I've been going back & forth about setting up something at the local Farmer's Market.  There is a larger one in the "big" town about twenty minutes from us, but there's also a much smaller one at the local city park just down the road from us.  Like three miles from the house.  And there's no fee to be a vendor whereas the bigger town charges vendors to set up AND some dipstick revenuer came in two years ago and is now making vendors there collect sales tax.  (I feel a political rant coming up....must stop.)

I've been to the local market three or four times, just to get out of the house & to see if there were any goodies I just had to have.  And to sample some goodies, of course.  There were about a dozen participants there with the "normal" farmer's market stuff; soaps, fresh breads, a quiche guy, a couple stands selling fresh veggies/fruits and I maybe two or three people with crafty stuff.

At one point I was thinking about selling breads or cookies, but I felt like that would be rude since there was already a lady there selling bread.  But heck with it.  I make a pretty mean loaf of bread and darned wicked whole wheat chocolate chip cookies so I brought three loaves of bread, a batch of cookies and some goat milk soap I grabbed from our household stash of soap (since I had, like, a hundred stinking bars).

My friend brought some pint jars of goat milk, eggs, lettuce & spinach from her garden & some other miscellaneous plants.   I actually have buyers for all my extra eggs & goat milk so I didn't have any to bring.  Maybe I should get more goats & chickens!  (Can you hear Paul screaming?)

I was going to bring Rhiannon with but didn't get her up early enough.  The area the market is set up is a ways off the main road and there's a walking trail through a little wooded area, a large field and flushing bathrooms!!  I'm going to make sure we're both up earlier next week because I really want to bring her with.  I'm sure she'll enjoy the time outside someplace different than our front yard and there is room for her to roam around where I won't be worried about traffic or other hazards.  I also figured that having a toddler there might increase sales because of the "cute factor".  Or not.

So.  How did I do?  Well, I sold all three loaves of bread and four packs of the cookies (6 per pack) for a grand total of $16!  Sad, I know.  Now I just have to figure out my actual costs and see what I actually netted.  Probably not "worth" it for just those items, but I was only there for 2 1/2 hours and I probably could have sold more had I made more & stuck around until 12:30.

Next week I'll try to bring six loaves and I may make up some whole grain pancake mix (just add oil & egg) and bake some non-gluten rice cookies as there were at least three ladies that asked for wheat free goodies.  The lady that sold breads there last year wasn't here so I'm hoping that I'll be the new bread lady.  But if she does come back, oh well, I'm still going to bring my breads.  Capitalism & the free market and all that jazz.

So my first attempt at selling at a Farmer's Market was only a tiny financial success.  But I'm glad I did it.  It feels good to actually sell some of my stuff.  Kind'a like, "Holy crap, people will actually BUY my stuff!"  And I did come home feeling just a little bit proud of myself :)


  1. Good for you! Don't under-sell price wise, make some profit.

  2. You know what, if you don't really need the money to live on, but it's extra... it's so worth it! Congratulations!

  3. Carolyn,

    That is fabulous news and it sounds like you enjoyed yourself! I'm so happy to hear you brought homemade items to your local farmers market. Some of those markets can charge a fortune to sell items.

    Rhiannon will love doing this with her mom :-)

  4. Good for you and the location sounds wonderful! :)
    I sell my cookies for $1.50 for a 6-pack and people always tell me that is probably too cheap but I'm still making a nice profit at it. You should sell full-size loaves of bread for at least $4 and probably $5. I do half loaves for $3 and they sell really well, people appreciate the smaller size. If you want to see them check out the pictures on this post at the King Arthur flour website.

  5. Nancy, why is it that I always feel "guilty" about pricing my stuff. Need to get that out of my head.

    Mary Ann, although I'd like to fantasize that I could make a living just selling yummy things like bread & cookies, I know it's just not possible. But I do have fun, it pays for a bag of feed for the critters (well, at least I hope it does) and I really want Rhiannon to be able to enjoy, and maybe even one day, take it over so she can learn how to do a business on her own.

    Sandy, honestly, if I had to pay any more than say $10 to set up, I probably wouldn't do it....that's why I LOVE the local market...a lot smaller & not as much foot traffic, but it's so convenient for us.

    Candy, I was secretly HOPING that you'd chime in seeing as you are my Farmers Market go-to lady! I sold 2+ pound loaves for $4 and six cookies for $1. I was hoping to find a half-sized loaf pan because honestly, a lot of the people here are older and they just don't seem like the kind of people to finish off a loaf like that quick enough.

  6. I think the value of a Farmers Market is not only in the ability of some to sell their excess and others to buy what they need, but in community. Not only in networking, but in building relationships with neighbors. It's an opportunity to remember that life isn't just about money, it's about people. IOW, enjoy yourself!

  7. You know, I've always wondered if being a vendor paid off. I'll be real curious to see what your profit margin is. NOTHING better than a great bread lady! Good Luck!

  8. Don't feel bad. We made very little this year, at our first day. I know I could sell eggs, but in that county, you have to have a cooler at a specific temperature, and have your farm inspected, and your eggs graded (a big pain in the rump). My daughter would love to sell baked items too, but I have no time on top of the jelly/jam and handmade items. She sells her soap there too. Some days are good and some are not good, considering all the hauling, and setting up and the drive for us.

  9. Good for you! I would definitely up the price (or shrink the product) so that it is worthwhile. It's not that you need to make a killing, but you should get a fair price. I bet Rhiannon would enjoy it if there were other kids. Of course, the cute factor wouldn't hurt, either.