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How To Run A Successful Farmers Market
A well-run farmers market doesn’t need expensive marketing. Social media posts, effective signage, and word-of-mouth advertising take care of promotion, says Santiago De Choch, an organic gardener and former manager of the GreenMarket in Ft. Myers, Fla.
As a grower and writer, he had the right skills to manage the market for a decade. He recruited farmers who could offer quality local produce. Having “a sharp focus on farmers,” is most important, he says.
“I needed small, quality growers, so I forfeited their fees,” De Choch explains. “I also needed great bakers, soap makers, cooks and chocolatiers, who were charged a small fee. I didn’t need arts and crafts people, so I only took the best at a full fee that subsidized the presence of the most wanted categories.”
The fee arrangement worked well to cover insurance, his modest part-time manager salary, and other expenses at the GreenMarket located near the picturesque Caloosahatchee River.
Instead of hiring a manager, farmers markets can be set up as cooperatives, but it’s important they make sure they are dealing with food safety, the fire department, and local rules and regulations, De Choch says.
“For me, a midsize market of 20 to 40 vendors is the best of both worlds. Big enough to cause a stir and attract a following. Small enough that it has a friendly atmosphere, where you know all your vendors and many of the visitors, by name, and can deal with them in a personalized, warm manner. It becomes a big group of friends,” he says.
Add interest by offering extra activities such as musicians, art projects for families, or educational events.
Remember to take photos and share the best on social media a couple of times a week. Take advantage of special activities that attract media coverage and work with non-profits to build connections.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Santiago De Choch (seedandpen@gmail.com; www.dosabejasfarms.com).

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2023 - Volume #47, Issue #1