Why You Should Consider Selling at a Farmers’ Market

Category: Business planning Operations Startup

Do you have a great business idea? Maybe you’re a baker, jam maker, gardener or crochet artist. Farmers’ markets are a great place to start selling your product.

A research report released in 2017 by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry indicated that Albertans continue to flock to farmers’ markets with 78 per cent of households in Alberta making at least one purchase from a farmers’ market in 2016.

Consumers visit farmers’ markets to seek out local food and artisan products, trusting in the safety of the food being sold there, wanting to support the small businesses and to experience the freshness, quality and taste of the products they are buying.

What benefits do farmers’ markets offer?

  1. Start small

Selling at a farmers’ market allows you to test the waters to see if selling direct to consumers is right for you. Start small; select a farmers’ market that works into your schedule and attracts the target customer you are seeking. There are over 130 Alberta approved farmers’ markets to choose from. Download the free Alberta farmers’ market mobile app from the App Store or Google Play for a complete listing on the go.

  1. Business incubator

Selling at a farmers’ market will help you gauge if you have the ability—and desire—to sell direct to consumers and help you develop valuable business skills. Discover if selling direct to consumers is for you before you invest a lot of time and money in a business venture.

  1. Test market for your products

Farmers’ markets help producers, food processors, and other makers discover the real demand for their products and learn what types of products customers are seeking. Customers give you immediate feedback on everything about your product, allowing you to adapt in order to make your business a success.

  1. Build relationships

The cornerstone of selling direct to consumers is building relationships with your customers. Customers increasingly want to know the story behind their purchases from the person who grew the carrots, raised the chicken, baked the bread, or knit the sweater. What a great opportunity for you to talk about something you clearly love doing!

  1. Price maker

You have total control over how you price your products; consider your costs and set the profit margin that meets your needs.  

  1. Immediate payment

Unlike selling through wholesale market channels, you will receive immediate payment for your product. 

  1. Lower overhead costs

Selling through a farmers’ market has much lower overhead costs than other forms of retail selling. There are still costs to consider but they are typically lower than other “storefront” options.

  1. Recognized under the Food Regulation

Alberta approved farmers’ markets are recognized in Part 3 of the Alberta Food Regulation. Alberta approved farmers’ markets are the only venues in Alberta where home-produced foods can be sold.

Interested? Your Next Steps

Do you want to learn more about becoming a vendor at a farmers’ market? Alberta Agriculture and Forestry and Business Link are partnering for the month of February 2018 to bring you several options to learn more.

NETWORKING EVENTS offered by Business Link in partnership with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry

BizConnections Networking Event - Edmonton

February 14: 2 pm to 4 pm

On the Rocks - 11740 Jasper Ave, Edmonton

BizConnections Networking Event - Calgary

February 26: 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm

Atlantic Trap & Gill Pub - 510 Heritage Dr SW, Calgary

Learn about Alberta approved farmers’ markets and the Alberta Farmers’ Market Association; hear the ins and outs from experienced vendors in a panel discussion; make those important connections.

WORKSHOP offered by Agriculture and Forestry

Getting Into Farmers’ Markets

February 15: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

AFSC Boardroom, 4910 - 52 St, Camrose, AB

Cost: $23.75 + GST per person, includes lunch and snacks

Register by February 8, 2018: Click here or call 1-800-387-6030 to register

This one-day workshop looks at selling food products at Alberta approved farmers’ markets. Discover what to look for in a market and what a market manager expects from a vendor. Hear seasoned vendors share their successful experiences at farmers' markets.

For more information about any of these events or about selling at a farmers’ market, contact Eileen Kotowich, farmers’ market specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry at 780-853-8223 or email eileen.kotowich@gov.ab.ca.

 

Ready to take your next step towards starting your business?

If you are looking for one-on-one support for your small business, give the Business Link Business Advisors a call at 1-800-272-9675 or email askus@businesslink.ca. You can also visit the events and webinars pages for upcoming activities!

About the Author

Eileen is the Farmers’ Market Specialist with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.