by Linda Watson, Cook for Good
Whether you feel like a rock star or a loner at your farmers’ market stall, you may be losing customers who are looking for quality food but don’t know you have it. The new wave of market customers have been told all too often that they should “know their farmer.” But how, when there is a line to get near the produce? Pity the customer who tries to remember which farm was pesticide free, which was spray free, and what those terms meant.
So don’t make potential customers ask. Show them! Get a banner with your farm’s name, location, and two or three of your best features. Show details on a reusable display, maybe a photo album or a few pages in protective sheet liners. Put your display near the aisle to tempt shy customers.
Different customers mean different things by quality. Let them know that you’ve got what they want.
• Sustainability: certified organic, pesticide- or fungicide-free, organic fertilizer or feed, grass-fed, good use of water and land
• Kindness: cage-free, free-range, pastured, vegetarian feed or ingredients. Even people who don’t use WIC or EBT cards may be glad that you accept them.
• Location: Are you, your workers, and your products local? Show on a map just how local you are.
• Products: heirloom, field-grown, gluten-free, kosher, hand-picked.
And then, stay in touch. Collect email addresses so you can send a short note with pictures at least once a season. Introduce yourself to visitors to create repeat customers.
Linda Watson is the chief cook and researcher for Cook for Good, where she shows that eating real food is affordable as well as delicious. cookforgood.com.
© Cook for Good