Wanna Sell at Your Local Farmers Market? These Workshops, Tips Will Show You How
Believe it or not, spring isn’t that far off. In just a handful of weeks, the days will be warmer and local farmers markets will get busy. Will you be there as a shopper—or as a vendor?
Perhaps you’re finally ready to sell veggies from your farm. Or maybe you’re a butcher, baker or candymaker who is looking for new revenue sources. Your local farmers market can be a great place to test the waters, build relationships and boost revenue.
Upcoming lunch and learns about farmers markets
MU Extension is offering a series of lunch and learns about selling at a farmers market. Whether you’re interested in giving it a try or want to learn how to do it better, these classes are for you.
What is it? A week of lunch and learns focused on how to be a successful farmers market vendor. Each day focuses on a different topic.
When: All sessions are noon – 1 p.m.
· Monday, Feb. 7: Growing niche produce
· Tuesday, Feb 8: Participating in the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program and the Double Up Food Bucks program
· Wednesday, Feb. 9: Regulations for selling food at a farmers market
· Thursday, Feb. 10: Marketing and customer service for the farmers market
· Friday, Feb. 11: Resources available from MU Extension and the Missouri Department of Agriculture
Keep reading for some advice from a farmer’s market pro …
Advice from a farmers market veteran
Brothers Dustin and Austin Stanton started selling eggs at the Columbia Farmers Market before they were old enough to drive. Now, Stanton Brothers Eggs serves outlets ranging from grocery stores to school systems. But they’re still at the farmers market, too.
“When I first went to market, I had the perception that it was a place for me to sell my products,” Dustin says. “Now, I realize it’s a community.”
Dustin now serves as president of the Columbia Farmers Market. He’s seen what differentiates successful vendors—and what’s worked for him and his brother. The Stantons get to know their market customers. And their consistency means they’ve served some patrons for 15 years.
“My advice to people wanting to sell at a farmers market is to be yourself,” Dustin says. “Be truthful and honest. And be repetitive. We wear the same clothes, have the same set up, the same signs, the same prices. Even when I talk to folks, I have the same message: ‘We appreciate your business.’ It’s not intentional, but it’s been impactful for our business.”
Farmers markets can fit into the business plans of ag ventures of all sizes. In 2021, Amber D. Smith started a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program with her business, Farms by Amber. The membership delivers Amber’s organically grown produce. But a farmers market is also a key way to reach customers and market her microgreens.
What you need to know to start a food business in Missouri
If your food business is just getting off the ground—or languishingon or in the ground—never fear.MOSourceLink has created a guide with everything you need to know to start a food business in Missouri. Learn how to size up the market, meet regulatory requirements and make your money work for you.
Still have questions? No worries! Here are three handy ways to find the resources you need:
Classes & Events Calendar: This schedule includes all the programs and workshops designed to support Missouri entrepreneurs.
Personal Action Plan: Get a free, customized to-do list to help your business get where you want it to go. Share some info and our Network Navigators create a plan just for you and will show you how to connect with the organizations and experts that can help.
Resource Navigator: This tool includes more than 600 Resource Partners across Missouri that can help your business grow.