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Self-Service Farm Stand Creates Extra Income
After seeing a neighboring farm’s self-sevice farm stand, Curtis Millsap of Springfield, Mo., decided to set up his own in a storage cooler he and his farm employees built to store produce. Curtis had always liked the idea of having a roadside farm stand but it was difficult to justify staffing it. “Self-service makes a lot more sense,” he says.
Millsap’s large storage cooler provided an ideal space for selling produce. Built off the end of one of their greenhouses, the storage cooler is made from 8-in. thick insulated foamboard recycled from an old warehouse. The cooler is powered by a Coolbot device that connects to a window AC unit. The Coolbot (www.storeitcold.com ) “tricks” the AC unit into running as cold as a refrigerator and keeps the cooler in the high 30’s and low 40’s, depending on the temperature outside.
Curtis installed stainless steel shelving units that can be customized to the desired height. The produce is stored in clear plastic totes with the prices displayed right on the lid or side of the tote. This allows customers to see the products and prices clearly while also protecting the fruits and vegetables.
Customers total their order in a reciept book and leave cash or a check in a mailbox installed right outside the cooler door. Many of the Millsap’s customers are nearby friends and neighbors, and Curtis said everyone is very honest and there have been no issues with theft or vandalism.
Curtis noted that signage with large lettering has been very important to build awareness of the self-service stand. Located just a couple of turns off of a main highway, there are close to 10 signs between the turn onto the Millsap’s country road and the farm stand itself. The stand is also promoted through the farm’s social media pages and at their weekly pizza night events.
Millsap Farm grows a variety of fruits and vegetables that make their way onto the farm stand shelves, from greens to tomatoes, raspberries, oyster mushrooms, herbs, cut flowers and more, plus they source items like eggs, goat cheese, grapes and honey from other local farmers in their area. The self service stand averages an extra $100 to $200 a week in income, and that number can be a bit higher based on what products are available that week.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Millsap Farm, 6593 Emu Lane, Springfield, Mo. 65803.

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2020 - Volume #44, Issue #1