Farmers Markets

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Farmers Markets

Postby welsh wizard » Fri Mar 09, 2007 2:32 pm

I am just about to embark on doing a few FM's in and around where I live and I am now doing some research so I was wondering if anyone out there has had any experience of FM's and if so could advise me re pit falls, good bits, bad bits etc.

In fact any info would be very handy

Cheers WW
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Postby Fallow Buck » Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:45 am

Wiz,

Are you looking at sausages or a variety of produce?

For what it's worth (and I have never worked at a farmers market) I think the way your product is portrayed is the most important thing for success. All the stalls that let you try the sausage, cheese, dips etc first sre the ones that seem to do themost business. Also I think packaging is very important. A nice sticker on the front of the package makes the product much more appealing without costing much, especially if you can print on a home PC.

Good luck with your venture and let us know how it goes.

Rgds,
FB
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Postby welsh wizard » Mon Mar 12, 2007 1:22 pm

Thanks FB

I am at present going through the various hoops to be able to produce goods at home for sale. It is intresting how things have changed since the begining of the year, re production and supply!

I have a number of ideas ref marketing and I will see how they perform and how sales go. I am off to do the food hygiene course next week, so that will be interesting as well. In fact the next 6 months will be a steep learning curve for me but I hope it is mainly common sense and hard graft.

I have registered this morning with the local Council and my permit will take 28 days to come through, before i can start selling, and only then once they have passed my kitchen as fit for purpose.........

What i need now is ideas of how to display my produce whilst keeping it cool and not having to lug a heavy chiller counter around with me.....

Cheers WW
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Postby Heather » Mon Mar 12, 2007 1:23 pm

Good luck WW.

I agree with FB that if people can taste your wares that is good.

Also, ensure your price is competitive and not OTT - people will compare to other stallholders. If there is a reason for your price premium, be prepared to market the wares as superior, etc.
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Postby Fallow Buck » Mon Mar 12, 2007 1:58 pm

Wiz,

Look into a chiller cabinet as I'm sure it will be the best way to display. My family have been in the catering side of food since before I was borne and to b honest there are some things that it is difficult to avoid. Provided you have access to a power supply, a display fridge boughtoff of Ebay will probably hae wheels that you can push it on and off a a transit/van very easily.

It's difficult to get away from refrigeration where raw food sales are concerned and you may find that the market will have stipulations that you have to conform to on that front.

For what it's worth I've never known someone start a business and realise from theoutset what their start up costs will be, but usually if done properly they have also under estimated the benefits too, so I wish you all the luck you need with this.

Rgds,
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Postby welsh wizard » Mon Mar 12, 2007 2:04 pm

Hi Heather

Ref tasting, you are both correct and I fully intended to cook some up for tasters / sale.

Ref Price, around here things like dry cure smoked bacon (loin) sells for �11.50 a Kg, so I should be able to get well within that price. However I dont want to get too compedative as that only fuels a price reduction from other producers and due to my small production it is a contest that I can not win. I will start on " trial price" and see how that goes.

To start I am going to sell Bacon, Pies and Sausages and will move onto smoked salmon as and when the price of the raw material is favourable. I only have this as a years project so it will be interesting to see how it goes from concept to fruition.

As time goes on I am going to embark on BBQ's with Paellea and whole Lamb roasts as well as sell smokers and Paellea sets. But for now the trick is to stay focused and concentrate on a few things and see how / if they develop.

Thanks for the good wishes, I will try and post stuff as I go along.

Cheers WW
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Farmers Markets

Postby sausagelinks » Mon Mar 12, 2007 11:20 pm

Wizard

I try to visit farmers markets as much as possible becuase it allow us to sample and buy sasuages from several sources at once, this allows me to pick up good sausage producers for my website
My tips to customers are to take cash (most stalls don't accept cash), take a cool box on the car if travelling, try to walk around the whole market before buying and most importantly ask the stall holder about the sausages and the meat. Most are shy farmers and once you start to show an interest they really open up.

As a stall holder I would agree that offering tastings and good packaging are vital. You want the overall look to be rustic but not home made, plastic trays and a good colour label are best . I dont buy from stalls with dodgy cooling so would invest in a proper cooler. Also have information about where the meat comes from and your local connections, especially if its your own meat - leaflets and pictures of the farm really help. A website about your products also adds credabilty.

Have a good range of sausages and offer variety for each market and products such as sausagemeat, black pudding amd sausage burgers. A good way of combining tasting and money making is to sell sausage/bacon sarnies and invest in one of those giant frying pans.

Lots of stall holders wait for the customers to show an interest so it is good to have a few chat up lines to get the dialogue going

Tell me where I can get your sausages and I will see if I can list you as a producer.

Good luck
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Postby welsh wizard » Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:16 am

Hi Sausagelinks,

I am fairly well set for the cooking side of things as I have portable Paellea burners combined with very large paellea pans that make wonderful frying pans.

Ref packaging, looking at the vac packed stuff on stands it really does turn me off. You cannot see what you are purchasing because it is all squashed. I intend (if allowed) to sell the bacon and sausages wrapped in greasproof or counter wrap, pre weighed, pre priced and with a label showing fat / meat content, use by date and my company logo.

Ref chillers, I know I am going to have to bite the bullet and provide some form of chiller / display at some stage but before investing in what is a large, heavy and expensive bit of equipment (pluas a transit to take it around) I want to make sure it is worth doing. Therefore I thought employing the use of chiller boxes (same as you get fish in) with ice packing in the first instance and selling the bacon in the piece rather than sliced, sausages as seen and for my pies I have a small table top ice cream / sweet chiller to keep them in. Anyway i am having a visit by the enviromental health people soon and will ask them a load of questions, of course.

Thaks for all the advice evryone and keep it coming.

Cheers WW.

PS the Markets will cenrtralise around Herefordshire and Shropshire.
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Postby welsh wizard » Tue Mar 13, 2007 8:19 am

HI FB

Sorry I read your response after I wrote mine - if you understand what I mean........Thanks for the advice and yes the start up costs are somewhat prohibative but my potential far outstrips just the farmers markets, I would like to get into a number of different things and we will have to see how it all goes.

Anyway, please keep the advice coming it all helps...............

Cheers WW
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Postby jpj » Tue Mar 13, 2007 10:49 am

the vac packers we use allow us to pre-set vacuum percentages. this allows for a sealed bag/board without the full pressure glueing your sliced product together.
can look good . . . and EHO like it for it's isolation from other foodstuffs
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Postby welsh wizard » Tue Mar 13, 2007 12:16 pm

Hi JPJ

Yep I understand and those do have a much better presentation than the squashed meat variety, but of course I have to do the math and a good quality vac packer is a lot more than I can afford at the moment.

Cheers WW

PS does anyone know how well used catering equipment keeps its price? I only ask because e-bay seems very expensive for used goods -- or is that just me?
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Postby Heather » Tue Mar 13, 2007 1:35 pm

WW, I would see if the other stallholders are refrigerating their goods, and maybe ask around.

I know it's winter now, but even in summer I can't recall that the stalls at my local farmer's market have any form of refrigerated display. Some have polystyrene cooler boxes at the back of the stalls, all the stalls are in shade (covered), and they tend to replenish the display with cold stuff from the cooler boxes. Our market is also only a few hours in the morning, 9:00 - 12:15, so not a huge amount of time for stuff to bake in the sun.

My comment about price was based on a recent trip to another market which had 2 suppliers of ostrich meat, no discernable difference in meat quality, even on tasting, and no apparent difference in farming methods when chatting to them, yet one was significantly more expensive than the other.
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Postby welsh wizard » Tue Mar 13, 2007 2:48 pm

Good call Heather, will have a look

Cheers WW
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Postby Josh » Wed Mar 14, 2007 4:02 pm

Heather wrote:WW, I would see if the other stallholders are refrigerating their goods, and maybe ask around.

I know it's winter now, but even in summer I can't recall that the stalls at my local farmer's market have any form of refrigerated display. Some have polystyrene cooler boxes at the back of the stalls, all the stalls are in shade (covered), and they tend to replenish the display with cold stuff from the cooler boxes. Our market is also only a few hours in the morning, 9:00 - 12:15, so not a huge amount of time for stuff to bake in the sun.



Just to second this no one at the farmers market I go to has refridgerated display, just big polystyrene boxes and ice packs.

One of the butchers has got nice acrylic opening lids on the display boxes with produce not on display kept in full polystyrene boxes behind the counter.
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Postby lemonD » Wed Mar 14, 2007 5:00 pm

WW,

Small table top fridge/freezer, any good?
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=220091217611
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