|Now, having persuaded you that farmers’ markets are bad for farmers, let me tell you that they are OK for any ‘overflow’ produce you may have.
But . . . we sometimes DO sell at a farmer's market
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For example, we always build in some extra margin when planning how much of each crop to grow (this is the ‘safety factor’ in the Bootstrap Market Garden Planner spreadsheet, part of the Bootstrap Pack). If it turns out to be a banner year in the garden, we may end up with more produce than our customers can absorb.
When this happens, we have an arrangement with a neighbouring farmer who does have a market stand; he takes our extra stuff and puts it on his stand, and we split whatever sales there are. This works because:
You might also consider giving away some of your extra produce; this makes us very popular with friends and neighbours. Or make an arrangement to donate extra produce to someone in need in your neighbourhood.
- His farm is close to ours (1/4 mile), so no long travel required;
- He has a good-looking stand at a strong market, and is a good salesmen so he can usually sell most of what he brings;
- His market day is the day after one of our pick/deliver days, so any extra produce is still fresh (we refrigerate, of course);
- We are not attached to how much is sold at the market, or how much we net. It is strictly for overflow; we would prefer see the stuff we grow used rather than wasted.
So find an outlet for overflow produce, but your main outlet should be your CSA home delivery program.
Special note: we have also established a separate ‘pick up day’ at the farm, to help handle overflow. We regularly deliver on Mondays and Fridays; now we also have some customers who come to us mid-week to pick up their veggies. See details in the later section on Expanding your Farm Business.
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