Marketing your produceNow that the days are longer and your first harvest is in, it’s time to sell your produce at the local farmer’s market. But how can you make sure that you stand out? How can you make enough of a profit that the market booth’s fee is worth it?

Here are a few tips that will help you shine. Check back later for a second post with more tips and advice.

Know Your Customer

One of the most important elements of marketing is knowing your audience. Once you understand them, you can answer their needs. We’re not saying that you need to change who you are, but instead, think of it as finding common ground and building on that.

The average shopper at a farmer’s market enjoys the community feel. They like buying local, and they want to interact with the people who grow their food. They want to cut down on the faceless middleman in their food’s supply cycle. They want to contribute to the local economy. They want to know YOU. How do you answer this need? Be genuine. Share your story. Chat with your customers.

Another common aspect of your average shopper at the market is an eco-friendly mindset. These shoppers have educated themselves about food and they want something better than what they’d get at the grocery store. They want healthy food, picked at its peak, for a great value, but they don’t mind paying extra for specialty items.

Emphasize your environmentally-sound farming practices. If you offer organic produce, put it at the forefront. Let customers know about your heirloom breeds and sustainable practices. If you create artisan products on the side, flaunt them!

Set Yourself Apart

Once you understand your customer, take a good look at yourself: at your farm, your company, your products, and your people. Odds are pretty good that you won’t be the ONLY person there selling peppers… so why should customers buy from you? What sets you apart?

Share your story. People like to know where their food comes from, and they appreciate businesses with a history. Consider this when you’re picking your name and your branding. Share your story with a flier, or when you chat with customers. Even more than your story, customers want to know your principles. Share your goals and mission statement.

Another important way to set yourself apart is by displaying high quality. Why is your produce superior? Is it the soil? The time it was picked? The species or type? You can communicate this quality when you’re talking to potential customers, sure. But what’s more important is letting them know your quality at a glance. Have signs labeling and explaining your food. Paint a picture that says a thousand words by displaying your produce to its best advantage. Is the quality of your produce evident in its taste? Prove it! Let your customers have a sample.