catering, chocolate, eat local, eat local food sweets, farmer's market, pastry, pastry cook, small business, vending, wisdom, writing

My Farmers Market Adventure

September 2, 2016

Like I said in my previous post, there isn’t really an instruction book on how to open a food business. So I started vending at the Upper Merion Farmers Market this summer. Of course, I learned a lot. Yes, mistakes were made. Of course, they were not devastating or I wouldn’t be here blogging. I’d probably be crying in my car with the lights off.

The Positives:

The Upper Merion Farmers Market – During my search of vending options, I came across this weekly market. Many other markets I searched in my area were booked it seemed 6 months prior. UMFM welcomes both weekly, bi-weekly, and occasional vendors.

My fellow vendors were all from the 100-mile radius of the area. I saw what they were selling and how they marketed their product. I realized I had to package my items to catch the eye of my customers.

The first day was the Saturday of the Memorial Day Weekend. I thought I was making the minimum. Oh heavens, how wrong I was. The one thing I did learn is to listen to my customers. The patrons included a good number of senior citizens. They would look and say they could not eat sugar because of diabetes or other health issues. So guess what I placed on the menu next time?

 

The Cons:

I decided rather quickly that I wanted to participate in a farmers’ market. Much like my standard, I decided that I was going to do this and I’m doing it now! In some cases, I don’t like researching too much or else I get a case of the nerves.

I’ve previously shopped in other markets so I kind of knew what to expect, but I’ve never attended this one in particular. The only research available was the listing on the website. I did not want to sell anything that conflicted with my neighboring vendors.

At my first market day, I brought a big selection – regular items (baked goods made with eggs and butter), gluten-free, and vegan. Now my menu has regular items, fewer vegan, no gluten free, and child-friendly sweets.

At this point, my season is nearly over and I am finally getting the handle of what to make, how much to make, and other factors such as how temperature affects shopping attendance. One big revelation is that kid-friendly items attract children and it makes parents hard to say no.

 

Story, recipe, and photos by Dana Prophet

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