What are your best sellers at Farmers' Markets

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It's seed starting time again and I was wondering what folks sell the most of at their local farmers' markets. Any particular varieties that your customers like the best? Are there things you've tried that don't sell well at all? What kind of new things are you trying this year?

The last two years, my biggest sellers have been greens of all types, radishes, scallions, zucchini & summer squash, new potatoes, cut flowers and strawberries. Last year my biggest money makers were bagged mixed lettuces, radishes, arugula, and scallions. This year I'm going to grow some popcorn, dry beans , flowers for drying, and birdhouse gourds to sell the first few weeks of the market next year. The first few weeks are always a little limited in the number of things that are ready so I'm hoping that having the popcorn and stuff will help next spring.

Thanks for sharing your ideas.

-- Murray in ME (lkdmfarm@megalink.net), March 14, 2002


I only sell winter squash at the health food store, but I have noticed that basil is a really hot item at the farmer's markets. People line up waiting to buy it before the market is even open.

-- Rebekah (daniel1@itss.net), March 14, 2002.

All different kinds and colors of hot peppers.

-- Cindy in KY (solidrockranch@msn.com), March 14, 2002.

Murry, My best seller is green beans, next is peppers (hot and green) Last year I raised pumpkins (rouge vif d'etampes)people were looking at them to see if I painted them. Theyre an old type pumpkin from the 1800s. Deep orange and deeply ribbed. Ordered extra seed this year. People also like the large tomatoes one slice covers the BLT. Rdgs Bill

-- Bill in SE. Mich. (Billshsfrm@aol.com), March 14, 2002.

Blueberries. I am sold out by 9am.

-- debbie (bwolcott@cwis.net), March 14, 2002.

Blackberry jelly. Definately blackberry jelly.

-- Terri (hooperterri@prodigy.net), March 14, 2002.

Honey. and candles

-- Butch (beefarm@scrtc.com), March 14, 2002.

I WOULD add snow pea pods. any herbs for salads. salad greens, esp. exotic ones. green chilies. berries. peppers.corn. roma tomatoes. any thing they have on food tv that is unusual. morels.

-- js (schlicker54@aol.com), March 14, 2002.

I agree with BUTCH about the Honey. I usually have the honey sold before getting to the Farmer's Market. I have people come to the farm and eat the honey standing next to the hive. I think their "strange" I know it has something to do with allegeries but do you have to stand near a hive. Bitch, my beeswax candles do not sell well at the Farmer's Market. How do you do yours? Debbie

-- debbie (bwolcott@cwis.net), March 14, 2002.

Slip of the tongue,ms. debbie? hmm,ahh,hrmp,->stifling laughter...:)

Edamame[soybeans in the shell] were tops , after that burpless cukes. people got their fill of eggplant real quick, pity too it was a great seanson for eggplant too,bumper crops!

-- bj pepper in C. MS. (pepper.pepper@excite.com), March 14, 2002.

We get huge monetary returns on fall gourds, indian corn and pumpkins. Corn stalks are a big seller too. We make enough money selling just these items in the fall, to cover our seed costs for the next year.

-- Charleen in WNY (nolongerpublic@usa.com), March 14, 2002.

My best sellers have been eggs, bouquets of fresh cut flowers and bundles of herbs. Especially basil...Pesto seems to be a hot item around here.

-- Harmony (harmonyfarm57@hotmail.com), March 14, 2002.

I suspect that this is seasonal and regional. For me in South Dakota it was:

1. Early tomatoes...I started them in Feb in the ground in the greenhouses. They paid for themselves, all of the propane for the year plus some free and clear.

2. Herb plants.

3. Cut flowers.

4. Bedding plants and hanging baskets

5. Canada red Rhubarb.

6. Native Perrenial plants.

7. Pumpkins

-- Oscar H. Will III (owill@mail.whittier.edu), March 14, 2002.

Raspberries, pumpkins, gourds and indian corn

-- Sherry (tlnifty@ecenet.com), March 14, 2002.

I sell baked goods but last night I was talking with a grower who sells a lot at the Farmers Market. She said one thing that helped was packaging. She double washes then bags beans, lettuce etc. She does weigh them at home but doesn't put the weight on the sign or label. She sells small summer squash that way as Stir Fry Mix. Does quite well.

-- Bonnie (stichart@plix.com), March 14, 2002.

squash, okra, tomatoes, bell and hot peppers.

-- Jay Blair in N. AL (jayblair678@yahoo.com), March 14, 2002.

That was being a lousy typist!!! Sorry Butch

-- debbie (bwolcott@cwis.net), March 14, 2002.

Herb plants-Daryll

-- Daryll in NW FLA (twincrk@hotmail.com), March 14, 2002.

Town we are moving to doesn't have a farmers market. How do you start one?

-- Hank (hsnrs@att.net), March 14, 2002.

Fall veggies: squash, pumpkins and gourds are by far our best sellers. The uglier the gourds, the better. Delicata (sweet potato squash) sells really well, so does acorn squash. I get $1 apiece for them and they certainly don't cost that much to grow. We don't do too well with tomatoes and peppers or other quickly perishable items like lettuce. My best sellers are homemade bread and pies. They take more work the 2 days before a sale, but they really sell well here in Central Wisconsin. Small loaves and pies sell better than large ones. Try glueing a few dried flowers on a mini-pumpkin, they sell really well at fall harvest festivals! So does indian corn with a rafia or gingham ribbon on it. For Hank: if your small town doesn't have a farm market, find a busy corner gas station or something similar and ask if you can set up a stand. Try it out to see what your sales are like before trying to get going on a larger enterprise. If we do any sales this year, we're going to try to sell right here from our farm. We're pretty close to a State highway with a lot of tourist traffic. They'll have to take a 2/10 mile detour. We'll make a sign and put it out on Saturday mornings and see what we get. I'm getting burnt out on the packing up, hauling, setting up, tearing down, etc. that is involved in going out to farm markets and festivals. I'll still do a couple here locally, but not anywhere near what we've done the past several years.

-- rose marie wild (wintersongfarm@yahoo.com), March 15, 2002.

Hank - You'll probably need a business license from your city and there are Farmers Market organizations. Don't have the names of any in front of me but do a search & you'll find them. Also the library has books on farmers markets. And you'll need variety - people won't bother to stop for just 1 item. That's why it's a good idea to get other farmers involved.

-- Bonnie (stichart@plix.com), March 15, 2002.

Consider trying to get a hold of the book by Jeff Ishee "Dynamic Farmers Marketing" through an interlibrary loan. There is a website called abebooks.com that located somewhere in it you can find extensive interlibrary libraries.

-- Katie S. (cashcrop90@yahoo.com), March 17, 2002.

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