How To Make Money Selling At Farmers Markets

So, you’re ready to take your business to your first farmers market? The prospect of selling to the public at your first farmers market probably feels scary but it’s a great way to connect with your customers and get real-time feedback on your products.

Its a great way to get started and build a brand for your farm business. 

Buuuut making money and sales is never as easy as simply showing up. You have to think of your farm as a business and even your stand as a way to get customers. Here are some tips on getting your first farmers market right.

Pay Attention When You Visit Farmers Markets

Most farmer’s markets are run in the same way. If you have a booking coming up, it can help to visit some other farmers’ markets to get a feel for what to expect. While you’re there, you’ll get to experience the atmosphere and see the market through a customer’s eyes.

It’s also a good opportunity to watch how other vendors operate and take some tips from more experienced tradespeople. What you see and learn can be applied to your own business and how you choose to operate it at a farmers market.

Pay attention to the designs and what stands out to you.

Is there a booth that everyone seems to be stopping at first? Why is that? What do they do first when they go to that stand? 

Farmers market selling flowers

Make Paying You As Easy As Possible

When you’re under-prepared, whatever can go wrong will go wrong. You can never be prepared for everything but there are some major points that you should never ignore. For instance, make sure your mobile payment processing is working so people can pay you any way they want to. 

Some people still prefer cash at farmers markets but like it or not we are in a borderline cashless society. If you can’t take card payments while you’re there you are missing out on impulse buying and even being able to encourage check out addons. 

Make sure you have as many payment options available as possible whether that is payment through moble apps or a card reader for a variety of cards.

Money, phone, change, and a sticky note pad.

Find A Niche

Farmers markets can get a little repetitive if you don’t work to stand out. What makes your brand stand out from the crowd? It’s essential that you find your niche when selling handmade items or even garden produce when you take your business to a farmers market.

Even if there is nothing you can do to change the look of your actual vetables ask yourself how you can design your table in a way that stands out.

It’s natural instinct to want to blend in and not make waves but that is not what gets the sale. You have to find a way to be different to catch the attention of your customers. 

Even if your product is the same as 10 other people at the farmers market how can you find your own corner of it and be different?

Mug of coffee and an egg basket of a farmer selling produce at a farmers market.

Keep Making Changes To Be Better

Running a business no matter how small will always come with issues. And that’s ok. Pay attention to what’s wrong and do what you can to fix that issue.

Before the day of the farmers market, do a test run somewhere else. It can be in your back garden if you have enough room. Set up your stall and make sure everything runs smoothly.

If you do notice any flaws in your setup, you’ll have some time to do last-minute preparations before you head to the market.

Make sure you know what will drive customers to your stall and keep them coming back when you visit again.

Choose A Product With Good Profit Margins

When choosing your farm products to sell you need to pay attention to the profit margins and the profit potential. 

The profit margin is the gap between your expenses and how much you charge for the product. You want that to be as far apart as possible. 

The profit potential is how much money you have the capacity to make. You may have over 50% profit margin which is great. But if its something that takes you an hour to make and you are only selling it for a few dollars that is a pretty poor profit potential.

a rustic desk table with a laptop, pencil cup, and a mug of coffee.

Track Your Expenses As Well As Your Income

If you are making more than a few hundred dollars a year you need to be tracking your expenses. This is totally boring I know but let me be the first to tell you that your brain is not good at ballparking your expenses and the totals.

It doesn’t have to be super complicated. The easiest way to do this is to have a separate checking account and use a tool like Waveapps to automatically pull in all of your transactions. Knowing your numbers is key to the success of your farm business and making money at farmers’ markets.

A hand outstretched holding change

Creating a farm budget will help you know where you can lower expenses and even push down on the gas to sell more of a product that is doing well.

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Know Who You Are Selling To

Not all customers and farmers markets are the same. We have a farmers market here in our local town but we are surrounded by farm land and everyone and their brother has chickens. 

But if you go to a farmers market in a larger city where handmade products like jelly, baked goods, and homemade bread are not common and chickens are only heard of in books you are going to be able to charge significantly more.

I talk about this in depth in my Profitable Backyard Farm Course where the older 60-year-old who used to raise chickens herself is not going to pay for the pretty egg carton and your marketing can be much simpler and very factual. 

But Jenna who lives in Saberbia and uses her farm’s fresh produce as a bragging right to her friends will pay a much higher price and wants to see pretty pictures of your chickens.

Knowing who your target market or ideal customer is could be the difference of $3 a dozen vs $5-6 a dozen.

Choosing the Right Products to Sell

Selecting the right products to sell at a farmer’s market is essential for success. By offering items that align with consumer preferences, market trends, and your own strengths and resources, you can maximize your earning potential and stand out from the competition.

desktop computer with a notebook and a cup of coffee

Research Market Demand

Conduct market research to identify products that are in high demand among consumers. Consider factors such as local food trends, seasonal preferences, and dietary preferences (e.g., organic, gluten-free, vegan).

Visit other farmer’s markets, grocery stores, and specialty food shops to observe which products are popular and selling well. Take note of customer preferences, pricing, and presentation.

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Assess Your Resources and Skills

Look at your farming or production capabilities, resources, and expertise to determine which products you can realistically produce or source. Consider factors such as available land, climate, equipment, and labor. It’s not going to do you any good to try and sell a type of product that costs you too much to make. 

Now maybe there is something you enjoy making like handmade crochet items. Those take a lot of time and may not be the best money-makers. BUT if you enjoy it and have something else that sells easily and you already have the connections to sell them. Then there is nothing wrong with selling something you enjoy. BUT make sure that income stream makes the income you need for your farm business.

Identify your strengths and passions, as well as any unique skills or knowledge you possess that could differentiate your products in the market. For example, if you have expertise in artisanal cheese making or heirloom vegetable cultivation, leverage these skills to create unique offerings. This will make your work much more enjoyable. Remember we didn’t start this lifestyle to hate what we do.

Bees coming out of a bee hive

Consider Seasonality and Local Sourcing

Emphasize seasonal products that are freshly harvested or produced, as they often command higher prices and appeal to consumers seeking freshness and flavor. Tailor your product offerings to reflect the changing seasons and highlight the best of what each season has to offer.

Prioritize locally sourced ingredients or products whenever possible, as consumers increasingly value freshness, sustainability, and supporting local farmers and artisans. Highlight the provenance of your ingredients or products to appeal to conscientious consumers.


Explore a Diverse Range of Offerings

Offer a diverse range of products to appeal to a broad customer base and cater to different preferences and dietary needs. Consider including a mix of fresh produce, value-added products, artisanal goods, baked goods, and crafts.

Experiment with unique or specialty items that are not readily available in mainstream retail outlets, as these products can attract customers seeking something special or out of the ordinary.

As For Customer Feedback

Engage with customers and solicit feedback to understand their preferences, tastes, and purchasing habits. Encourage customers to share their opinions, suggestions, and requests for products they would like to see at the farmer’s market.

Use surveys, comment cards, or social media polls to gather feedback from both existing and potential customers. Pay attention to recurring themes or trends in customer feedback and use this information to inform your product selection decisions.

a hand outstretched picking up tomatoes

Marketing and Promotion Strategies

Marketing and promotion are essential components of a successful farmer’s market strategy, helping you attract customers, drive foot traffic to your booth, and increase sales. By leveraging various channels and tactics, you can effectively promote your presence at the market and engage with potential customers to generate interest and excitement about your products.

Use Social Media Platforms

I know I know, this is not a popular one. But if you want to make sales you have to go where the customers are and where they spend their time. And that is on those somewhat annoying little apps on their phones.

Leverage popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote your participation in the farmer’s market. Create engaging posts, stories, and updates that showcase your products, share behind-the-scenes glimpses of farm life, and highlight special promotions or new offerings.

Use relevant hashtags and location tagging to increase visibility and reach a broader audience of local customers who may be interested in visiting the market. Encourage followers to share your posts and tag friends or family members who might be interested in your products.

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Email Newsletters and Marketing Campaigns

Build an email list of loyal customers, supporters, and market attendees who have expressed interest in your products. Send regular newsletters and marketing campaigns to keep subscribers informed about your participation in the farmer’s market, upcoming events or promotions, and seasonal product offerings.

Even telling simple stories about what has happened will keep people interested in YOU and your product creating loyalty.

Personalize email communications with tailored messaging, exclusive discounts, and special offers to incentivize subscribers to visit your booth and make purchases. Include visually appealing images of your products and compelling calls-to-action that encourage engagement and conversion.

There are two main tools I would recommend you use. The first one if you want a free tool for your first 1000 subscribers is MailerLite.  They are great for getting started. BUT once your email list grows I prefer Flowdesk because your monthly price doesn’t go up as your list grows. And when you are in a business where you’re not charging hundreds of dollars for your product a fixed rate is key.

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Local Advertising and Community Outreach

Partner with local media outlets, community organizations, and influencers to promote your presence at the farmer’s market. Write press releases, articles, or blog posts about your farm, products, and participation in the market, and pitch them to local newspapers, magazines, or online publications.

Collaborate with neighboring businesses, community groups, or schools to host joint promotional events or fundraisers that raise awareness of your farm and attract new customers to the market. Offer to provide product samples or sponsorships for community events to showcase your offerings and support local initiatives.

Calculator sitting on a desk

Creative Promotions and Incentives

Offer special promotions, discounts, or incentives to encourage customers to visit your booth and make purchases at the farmer’s market. Consider running limited-time offers, bundle deals, or loyalty programs that reward repeat purchases and customer referrals.

Host interactive activities or demonstrations at your booth, such as cooking demonstrations, recipe tastings, or DIY workshops, that engage customers and showcase the versatility and uses of your products. Distribute recipe cards, product samples, or branded merchandise to attendees as a token of appreciation for their participation.

Engage with Local Businesses and Influencers

Build relationships with other local businesses, restaurants, cafes, and influencers who share similar values or target demographics. Collaborate on cross-promotional initiatives, such as product partnerships, guest chef events, or social media takeovers, that introduce your products to new audiences and drive traffic to the market.

Offer to provide products for local businesses to incorporate into their menus or retail offerings, showcasing the quality and versatility of your offerings. In exchange, ask for shoutouts, mentions, or testimonials that promote your farm and products to their customer base.

I know all of these marketing tactics might seem scary but if you are willing to put yourself out there and build your reputation it will make getting sales a whole lot easier. 

Maximizing Sales Opportunities

Maximizing sales opportunities at a farmer’s market involves strategic planning, effective merchandising, and engaging with customers to encourage purchases and increase average transaction value. By implementing various sales techniques and offering complementary products, you can enhance the customer experience and boost your revenue potential.

Optimize Booth Layout and Presentation

Design your booth layout to attract attention and encourage browsing. Arrange products in visually appealing displays, grouping related items together and highlighting best-sellers or seasonal specialties.

Use signage, banners, and chalkboards to communicate product features, prices, and special offers. Clearly label products with descriptive names, pricing information, and any relevant certifications (e.g., organic, locally sourced).

Create an inviting atmosphere with attractive lighting, fresh flowers, or decorative accents that reflect the aesthetic of your brand or farm.

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Offer Samples and Tastings

Provide samples or tastings of your products to engage customers and showcase the quality and taste of your offerings. Offer small samples of fresh produce, artisanal foods, or value-added products to encourage trial and generate interest.

Use sampling as an opportunity to educate customers about your products, sharing information about ingredients, preparation methods, and serving suggestions. Be prepared to answer questions and address any concerns customers may have.

Upselling and Cross-Selling

Upselling involves persuading customers to purchase a higher-priced or premium version of the product they are considering. For example, if a customer is interested in purchasing a small jar of honey, you could upsell by offering a larger size or specialty variety at a slightly higher price point.

Cross-selling involves suggesting complementary or related products to accompany the customer’s original purchase. For example, if a customer is buying fresh-baked bread, you could cross-sell by recommending a jar of locally-made jam or a block of artisanal cheese to enjoy with the bread.

Use suggestive selling techniques, such as asking open-ended questions, making personalized recommendations based on customer preferences, and highlighting the value or benefits of upsell or cross-sell items.

Encourage Impulse Purchases

Create opportunities for impulse purchases by displaying smaller, lower-priced items near the checkout counter or entrance to your booth. Offer attractive packaging or bundling options that encourage customers to add on additional items to their purchase.

Highlight special promotions, limited-time offers, or exclusive deals to create a sense of urgency and motivate customers to make spontaneous purchases. Use signage or verbal cues to communicate the value and benefits of these promotions.

people at a farmers market

Provide Excellent Customer Service

Prioritize exceptional customer service by greeting customers warmly, engaging in friendly conversation, and offering assistance or recommendations as needed. Be approachable, knowledgeable, and attentive to customer needs and preferences.

Anticipate common questions or objections and proactively address them to alleviate concerns and build trust with customers. Offer personalized recommendations based on customer preferences, dietary restrictions, or occasion-specific needs.

If you want to learn more about starting and running a farm business The Profitable Backyard Farm Course is the perfect resource you need.

Building Relationships with Customers, ie. BE FRIENDLY

I see this so much where people will be scrolling their phone or reading a book and hardly look up until you pretty much walk up to their table. That is not how you get people to show up to your booth.

Be friendly and act open to conversation. As hard as it can be sometimes you will make far more sales if you look inviting.

These are some tips that are going to help you start to make more sales at farmers’ markets. Like anything in business, you have to test it out and see what works.

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