Thinking of running your own stall at a farmers market or even running a market? Here’s some key considerations:
Farmers Markets are a great place to pick up delicious locally sourced produce. However, they can vary enormously in terms of both the goods available and the quality of any extra features. There are a number of ways to ensure that these markets provide the very best experience for visitors.
Variety of stalls
It is crucial to ensure that Farmers Markets offer a wide selection of different types of stalls, including fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy. This diversity makes the market more attractive to a greater range of customers. However, it is important to maintain the integrity of the market by making sure sellers are local to the area and that vendors selling value added produce use locally sourced ingredients. Depending on the frequency of the market there may be some sellers who do not take a pitch every time, but having a core group of regular sellers will avoid visitors being disappointed if one week their favourite isn’t there.
While a Farmers Market is obviously less regulated than a supermarket, it is important to ensure that high standards are still adhered to. Traceability and sustainability are extremely important to visitors and vendors should be able to answer any questions about how their produce is grown. Good signage and clearly displayed prices will also make it easier for visitors to navigate their way round the market.
Having extra activities at Farmers Markets not only makes the experience more enjoyable for visitors but can play an important role in promoting wider access to good food. Wine tastings or cookery demonstrations by companies such as Taste Budds Cookery School are brilliant for attracting crowds as well as being great fun. The audience get the opportunity to watch chefs at work, as well as taste new foods and hopefully get inspired to try different things in the kitchen.
When visiting Farmers Markets there are lots of ways to make sure you get the most from your experience. Go early when there will be the best selection of produce available. Be aware of the seasons so you know exactly when each type of fruit and vegetable will be at their most delicious. Visit all the stands and ask to try some of the food on offer. Most vendors will be more than happy to offer you a small sample before you buy. Chat to the sellers. Not only will this make you better informed about what you are buying but will foster good relationships with local growers, in turn benefitting both of you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about where and how the locally sourced produce is grown. Remember to take plenty of small notes and changes, as well as shopping bags to carry all your goodies home.
Good Farmers Markets offer a broad range of locally sourced food from producers who are knowledgeable about their produce.