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Chez

Why don't you buy from your local farmer's market?

Falling out of Gawber's thread about marketing, can I take a straw poll about what prevents you shopping at your local farmer's market?

I guess we are a touch-feely-earth-people-yoghurt-knitting-hippy type cross-section of society here. So if *anyone* was likely to want to shop at farmer's markets, you lot will.

If you don't, what is the MAIN reason that stops you?

I can add other options if you think I should.

If you DO shop at your local farmer's market, then I love you. And you can answer anyway and pretend you don't.
Jamanda

I've answered - I do make a point of going to the one in the garden at 1646, and it has some very nice stuff, but it does tend to be top end stuff. Not overpriced, but more treats than normal fare.
sean

But we live somewhere with small shops that source a lot of their stuff locally anyway...
NorthernMonkeyGirl

My local town's "farmers market" is more a craft / chocolate/ gifts/ posh goodies one.
Out of my price range, and 5 in bus fares, which would not be fantastic in any case in terms of carrying shopping. The normal market, held in the same place, has a few good veg stalls and then the usual tat.

Other stores/markets are not served by public transport, and the one I'm thinking of in particular is about 40 minutes walk on country lanes. Handy if I were driving past during office hours though.
LynneA

There isn't one nearby anymore. There's Ally Pally but it's on a Sunday morning, when the buses from us run every 30 minutes, out of schedule with the trains that run once an hour. Guess it's for the Muswell Hill & Crouchenders more than the likes of us.
Rob R

Convenience, mainly, most people who attend farmers markets either do what we do or have shops/internet outlets, so we use those.
earthyvirgo

A mix of the things in your Poll Chez.

Our local one, in Bethesda:

Too few stalls, very little choice
Quite expensive
Luxury/treats, rather than staple items
I forget it's on (2nd Sat of every month) Embarassed

EV
Cathryn

I'm never very sure when it's on.
Midland Spinner

I don't bother with them.
The timing (once a month) makes them elusive - I don't work to a set schedule, so I forget that it's happening *this* weekend, and thus it's always either next weekend or last weekend.
We are veggie, and much of the stuff at Farmers Markets is meat.
Also, we have an excellent greengrocer in the village, so I go there most days rather than an occasional FM once a month.
marigold



Too few stalls, very little choice
Quite expensive
Luxury/treats, rather than staple items
I forget it's on (2nd Sat of every month) Embarassed



This. Except ours is 4th Saturday of the month. It would be much better if it was tacked onto the weekly Wednesday market.
Mithril

I just don't like it. Some of it is organic, but if it is way more expensive than Waitrose or equiv. to getting an abel and cole box (which I only do very rarely these days - economising). No free range meat either Sad (Edit: it's held weekly).

I went to Wimborne Food festival in the summer though and that was fab. If the local market was like that I'd use it.

However, it is my intention to visit a local'ish (20mins drive) butcher who apparently stocks a lot of free range, local, meat. That said, my Waitrose (5 min drive) sometimes does too.
Rob R

I just don't like it. Some of it is organic, but if it is way more expensive than Waitrose or equiv. to getting an abel and cole box (which I only do very rarely these days - economising). No free range meat either Sad


The main reason that I don't do them as a producer is that the added cost of all the transport, equipment plus the time to pay someone to stand there every week all has to go on the product.
Katieowl

We have two nearby. One is Tuesday morning, which would be pants if you worked, and the other is Thursday mornings...ditto. Parking in St Dogs. Tuesday is no prob. Cardigan on Thurs is a bit tricky...even if you pay (I try not to)

I do buy 'some' things at the markets, but I'm not a regular. I can make most of what they sell - so the cakes, bread, jam, pickles, sweets are all a no-no. We grow some of our own veg, so rarely buy that, but the organic woman is expensive (she's at both markets) my neighbour grows organically in the summer, but is not registered as organic so her cabbages are 50p and Organic ladies are 2! I buy meat occasionally there, but it's a cheaper cut - like a hock. We have a fishing personage, who is also there, but they tend to do lobster, crab and the occassional hand dived (doved?) scallops (lush and cheaper than Tesco) I need to chat them up...I want fish.

Cheese is the thing that lures me mostly. The Thursday market has the dutch Teifi cheese guys - which is my favorite cheese in the universe, and also goats cheese, which is a new thing for me - having tried this guys stuff because Pippa can eat it, I've decided I like it! The goats cheese feta is to die for. We also have a 'professional forager' who appears from time to time - ditto I can make/find most of what she has, but I'm going to a class of hers on Saturday to see if she's got any new secrets!

The place I'm now working was selling my cakes on the stall before xmas - and will do again when it gets busier. So I guess that makes me an insider! LOL!

Kate
joanne

My local one is on the last Thursday of the month which means a) I'm at work and b) I'm usually broke so it's inconvienent - when I have got there it's really good Jamanda

This could get a bit dispiriting Chez. Should you start another one asking why people DO use them as well - positive feedback as well as negative? Chez

This is fine, actually, very helpful - yeah, it's negative. But it's the negative things I want to correct somehow. I've already put a sample of prices up on the website so potential shoppers can compare us with other outlets - http://mineheadfarmersmarket.co.uk/stalls.html to try to do away with some of the 'Farmer's Markets are too expensive' stuff.

I guess I want to try to get us working on the smaller, easily attainable things first and move to sorting out the larger, more scary ones in the longer-term. None of us are really innovators and it's the whole thing that Rob mentioned in Gawber's thread - all the time you are standing there selling stuff, you aren't growing it/making it etc.. And the same goes for advertising.

It's worth adding, though - ours is a weekly market. I think regularity and dependability are one of the first things you need to work up a good customer base and we are lucky, because we *are* there every Friday, come rain or shine, and so people don't have to muck about remembering whether it's a first or third weekend or whatever.
chicken feed

we lost our local farmers market but when it was here we brought jams meat veg etc from them. now we only buy from farmers markets when going to our local livestock auction they have a great range of stalls most of them are very fair with their prices which is a plus as some markets that i have been to have been rather pricey. Treacodactyl

We went to one a couple of times before Christmas and would go again if it wasn't for the fact it was only there in the run up to Christmas.

I gather most of the stalls are at various other FMs, but they are further away, the parking isn't as easy and I don't think all the stalls will be there so the journey isn't as worth while.

For me I'm happy to go during the week and within reason don't mind many of the higher prices (we did find many items were higher prices than a supermarket, some weren't as good but some were better); but I can't see too many people putting up with that.

One thing that I think could be done better was telling people where you come from, a number of stalls had no address or details of where they were from.
Bebo

The one Battle is once a month and has a really limited choice. Not sure how local it really is either. Don't bother unless I'm actually in Battle when its on, then I have a mooch about but generally don't buy much.

There is one on Friday mornings ever week in the hall at Brede. This does do local produce (my neighbour sells her lamb there) and I do occassionally pop to it, but not often. I must make the effort to go more often.

I suppose the reason I don't make more effort to go to them is that most meat I buy direct from the producer, I try to use a lot of our own veg or use the local farm shop. I use the supermarket for bog standard stuff and any treats I fancy I usually go down to Hastings, where there are so great fishmongers and a good deli for cheese and a nice bakers and a little thai supermarket.

Now I work in London Bridge there is also Borough Market on my doorstep there, which I expect is going to be a temptation for treats.
Tavascarow

My local farmers market only happens once a fortnight & the goods are over priced IMHO.
I prefer to use the local shops that I've traded with for a long time & built a relationship with.
NorthernMonkeyGirl


One thing that I think could be done better was telling people where you come from, a number of stalls had no address or details of where they were from.

Absolutely, if I want to support local businesses then I'd like to know they're local (I've also seen bigger companies/franchises - not quite the small guys I had in mind).

Banners with pictures of the stock always go down well, and I do like the idea of "order to collect".
jema

We use ours sometimes, but I cannot really answer the poll as it is a bit of most of them, expensive, bad parking, awkward times, and time consuming when you consider Snowball actually works in a supermarket.
There is also a limited number of stalls and a lack of a major wow factor.
pookie


One thing that I think could be done better was telling people where you come from, a number of stalls had no address or details of where they were from.

Absolutely, if I want to support local businesses then I'd like to know they're local (I've also seen bigger companies/franchises - not quite the small guys I had in mind).


Ditto this! In fact I'd make it a condition that the stallholders have to comply to in order to trade there.
Chez

So, do you *expect* a 'wow' factor, then, compared to the supermarket?

This is all interesting stuff. I know it's not as easy as 'yeah, it's THAT that stops me from shopping there'. But a lot of you are saying the same thing.
Chez


One thing that I think could be done better was telling people where you come from, a number of stalls had no address or details of where they were from.

Absolutely, if I want to support local businesses then I'd like to know they're local (I've also seen bigger companies/franchises - not quite the small guys I had in mind).


Ditto this! In fact I'd make it a condition that the stallholders have to comply to in order to trade there.

We do - you have to be within 30 miles of the town and most of your inputs have to be local.
pookie


One thing that I think could be done better was telling people where you come from, a number of stalls had no address or details of where they were from.

Absolutely, if I want to support local businesses then I'd like to know they're local (I've also seen bigger companies/franchises - not quite the small guys I had in mind).


Ditto this! In fact I'd make it a condition that the stallholders have to comply to in order to trade there.


We do - you have to be within 30 miles of the town and most of your inputs have to be local.

Displaying their own details sign I was meaning (the actually 'being reasonably local' goes without saying)

Though saying that, is there indication to the customers of the 30 mile radius rule? cos I'd like to see that sign too! Very Happy
Chez

I will put that on my list! toggle

In the truro one, all the stalls are pretty much catering to the high end of the market. I don't mind paying their prices for an occasional treat, but I just couldn't afford to shop there regularly. I have a good local farm butcher that knows our family so I'd only be looking for veg and bits, and it is all heavily overpriced for what it is and the focus is very much on tiny bits of cheese for 3 quid and very small packs of sliced meats and imported organic fruit.

if there was more of a mix of premium and normal price goods, i'd be more likely to look regularly. and probably spend a lot more when i did visit
Nicky Colour it green

i voted too far away.


too far away for me is defined as the difference between having to get a bus or drive to nearby town vs being able to walk to local shops to buy local produce.

I do buy from farmers markets if I find myself there - but not much, as I mostly buy local. We lost another village shop recently, so it seems even more important.
Treacodactyl

Something that doesn't stop me but puts me off from using some stalls is the lack of prices. I'm more likely to buy from a stall that shows clear prices or at least some prices, and I tend to buy more. baldybloke

I live in a Market Town that has a market on Thursdays which I support when not at work. Occasionally there is a smaller Saturday one that showcases local producers which I also support when I can. But to be honest most of my shopping is with the small independant shops in town. We are fortunate in having 2 Butchers and a good Greeengrocer, plus a really good Health Food Shop. I prefer to support them as I would hate it if they were forced to close down. Jamanda

I live in a Market Town that has a market on Thursdays which I support when not at work. Occasionally there is a smaller Saturday one that showcases local producers which I also support when I can. But to be honest most of my shopping is with the small independant shops in town. We are fortunate in having 2 Butchers and a good Greeengrocer, plus a really good Health Food Shop. I prefer to support them as I would hate it if they were forced to close down.

Similar here really. We also have a good deli who do localish cheeses. The only thing that is really extra at the farmers market is Dan the Clovelly fish man.
pookie

Something that doesn't stop me but puts me off from using some stalls is the lack of prices. I'm more likely to buy from a stall that shows clear prices or at least some prices, and I tend to buy more.

oh it does put me off, I hate it if I have to ask, and would walk on by if they weren't displayed.
NorthernMonkeyGirl

Yes, I'd feel very rude walking away after asking for prices; while I know they're fair for the amount of work put in, I just haven't got the budget Sad Chez

I hate it, too - it makes me all nervy. wellington womble

I do shop at it, sort of. It's only monthly, and it is on the 3rd Saturday of the month so I can get there. There isn't a lot we need in it, though. I get most of my meat direct, I need veg more than once a month and it's too far away to get to the farm weekly. Same for cheese and eggs. For meat and eggs I can buy direct from (different) suppliers more locally and conveniently. I buy the odd cake, nice bit of expensive cheese, pot of Honey or plant but their hardly worth heading out for on their own. Dont like olives and don't need Artisan bread!

I reckon you need to be a weekly supplier of what people need weekly, and to meet most of their other needs, otherwise you stay in the 'nice treat if we're not doing anything socially' bracket. I think some kind of collection point where people can pre-order and pick up from multiple producers is a good idea. If you can mostly replace a supermarket shop then you'd be popular, I'm sure. Standing orders on direct debits. like a veg box schemes with some way of varying things and a deadline for people to add extras charged a normal prices. Weeky-shop-in-a-box or something. Especially if there is a small supermarket where people can pick up extras that you don't sell while they are there.

What about some kind of farmers market extravaganza event? Day-out--for-all the family with a roundabout, trampolines, balloons, clowns, raffles (with produce as prizes, natch) sausages-in-a-bun and any other fun and games you can think of? You could tie it in with Easter (pity pancake day is so soon, that would have been great) or farmhouse breakfast week (although I'm not sure if I dreamt that up)
Kenworth

I know my information is not relevant, but you asked.

I love the big fm in Kalamazoo. It is open May-October on Saturdays and another day in the week. I only go on Saturdays.

It's over a 30 mile drive one way. The parking is terrible, either a dust bowl or a mud hole. This is the only place I could get beets this year, mine were a failure. There are all kinds of price ranges for goods.

I love to go and dicker for larger quantities near the end of the day. To bottle or can.

My local farmers market in Allegan is at an awkward time. Tuesdays until 2, also during the summer months. I think it's an off day so the producers can go to bigger markets on the weekends. I think the prices are higher at Allegan then Kalamazoo.
T.G

All of the above Chez

I know my information is not relevant, but you asked.

I still think it's relevant, Kenworth. Farmers are farmers and people need to eat, everywhere.

Do you 'follow' my friend Jamie at Dogwood Road Farm? She's in Georgia - https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dogwood-Road-Farm/466722200429
Frazzled_Barbie

I used to go to our farmers market but found that it has developed now into more of a ready made goods market, pies, cakes, jams, chocolates and potted curry sauces etc. All good for treats but not for everyday.

The meat stalls that I buy from also have their own shops on the farm so I go there instead and they also stock my favourite smoked cheese too....so an added bonus

With regards to veg the farmers market is very hit and miss however tend to get my veg from our weekly market instead.

So the farmers market did its job, I found the traders I like just go them direct instead.
Rosemary Judy

I don't go because I can never remember which week the market is where - it moves round the local small towns, which are all a good 20-30 mins drive away.

I need to be able to buy weekly stuff, and the Farmer's market near me are all treat stuff.

I can buy all my meat from people on here, or other friends made through the interweb.
I grow a lot of veg and buy the rest from my real life friend who has a fruit and veg shop. She sources locally as much as she can, and I love being able to support her and get good local veg.
gardening-girl

We(allotment co-operative)have a stall at the local produce market.1st Saturday of the month.
We can walk to it,parking is good.
I try and buy something from each stall,ie bacon, bread, honey etc to support the other producers.
Prices are not too bad.
Sometimes I swop things with the organic veg lady.
Katieowl

Something that doesn't stop me but puts me off from using some stalls is the lack of prices. I'm more likely to buy from a stall that shows clear prices or at least some prices, and I tend to buy more.

oh it does put me off, I hate it if I have to ask, and would walk on by if they weren't displayed.

Me three. I work on the principle if you have to ask the price you can't afford it.

Kate
gorbut

We have a regular farmers market a few miles away but it tends to be mostly value added stuff like cakes, pies or preserves which I make myself so don't buy. The stuff does seem to come a long way but that is partly due to the lack of farmers on the edge of London. I did used to buy meat but the stall I used stopped coming and some of the other stalls are out of my price range. You have made me feel I ought to be supporting it though so will look up when it is on next and go and have another look.

I agree with the lack of visible prices being a problem. I hate to ask and then say no as it is embarrassing.

edited to add that having looked at the farmers market site some of it does seem to be coming a long way - cheese from Somerset and isle of Wight tomatoes for instance. So although the food is coming straight from the producer it can't really be described as local.
gz

distance- they are all about 20 miles away except Newport (10)( and the only time I went there there was nothing much there)

I buy a little veg and bread when I'm selling at Usk, where there are 24+ stalls of a fair mix of goods on offer.
jema

So, do you *expect* a 'wow' factor, then, compared to the supermarket?



It is probably unfair, but yes I want things that entice my custom. A farmers market can be quite a bleak affair with almost as much shrink wrapping as a supermarket.
Of course it is all pretty circular, you need enough stalls to make it exciting, and they won't be there unless the punters are there to buy.
Jamanda

There were two near us when were in London. One was awful, not local, or even British veg, lots of tat. No meat, but dodgy looking pies etc.

The other was much smaller, but had people selling stuff they'd grown, raised or made themselves - no tat - not cheap - but it was London! It was quite a nice Sunday morning out with a small baby.

I think the rules of the individual market are quite important.
12Bore

The 40 mile round trip puts me off, and the "touring" type FM that the council give the main street in town to twice a year is rather pricey, there's better value in the town market, unfortunately that seems to be dying on it's ar$e with more tat and mobile phone stands than food. Rolling Eyes Rob R

The 40 mile round trip puts me off, and the "touring" type FM that the council give the main street in town to twice a year is rather pricey, there's better value in the town market, unfortunately that seems to be dying on it's ar$e with more tat and mobile phone stands than food. Rolling Eyes

A forty mile round trip puts you off? That's pretty standard if you want to get anywhere round here.
12Bore

Yeah, but you're in Yorkshire, we're more civilised - with mobile phones that work and the internet Wink T.G

All of the above
Just to qualify my answer further.
Quote:
I don't have the time to visit each stall-holder independently at the market

Time is an issue, I like to take my time if and when I shop and being on any kind of time l limit would make me unlikely to bother going, because of all the other following factors.
Quote:
Parking is crummy

The parking at our local FM, is poor if nonexistent, the local FM is held in a very busy tourist village and parking is at a premium, on a side note it always ticks me off I have to drive to get to facilities and pay a fortune in fuel and THEN have to pay for parking, which isnt cheap.
Quote:
Too far away (please can you say how far is too far, if you tick this one?)

Its not that its just the distance but its in a completely different direction and is a bit of a cul-de-sac village, you tend to only go in that direction if you are going in that direction. It would be well over 20miles round trip.
Quote:
I can't get all my shopping there

exactly, they dont have any high street shops, the shops are aimed at tourists. There is no supermarket and the grocers is really ore of an Ice cream and sandwich shop.
Quote:
It's too expensive.

Yes, and when youve gone 20 miles in the wrong direction, paid a fortune in fuel and parking for the pleasure you dont want to be left paying over the odds.
Quote:
The stallholders are grumpy/creepy/smile too much/smell .
Id say Ive never been close enough to know if they smell, as we all smell, I assume you mean in a bad way, either heavily perfumed or heavily scented However, they do on the whole tend to look either hacked off and wishing youd all just either buy their stuff or p!ss off, or they are overly happy and decidedly chipper or bullish.
Quote:
Wrong time of day - I work etc

This is indeed a big problem the timings.

Our local FM seldom, if ever, advertises. I did a quick Google and they do surprisingly have a FB page, however it has 3 likes, has been running since 2010 and tends to only post the events a couple of days before the market happens,

I used to use the markets both at Bakewell and Buxton regularly (twice weekly) but they killed off the ambiance of the market in Bakewell when they moved its location and Buxtons market died a death, at one around Christmas I counted a total of 5 stalls, two were clothing one was a food vender Sad

It is a real shame because the market used to be very busy and although not necessarily a FM in the true sense you did get to buy from many local traders.
Chez

Thanks for all the feedback, folks, we really appreciate it, some good ideas in here. gillyflower

Ours is once a month and I do go if I remember it's on.

I agree with a lot that has been said: high prices, so only for treats not usual shopping (not saying its overpriced just more than I want/can spend). Lots of ready made pies, cakes, jam, which I make myself. Once a month is not enough for buying veg etc on regular basis. Lack of visible prices makes me nervous about asking because they always seem to cost more than I can afford when I do ask, and I find that can be a little embarrassing as the sellers start talking to me wanting me to buy.

So yes I do go, but just for treats.

Gillyflower
Rob R

I never realised that visible pricing was so bad at Farmers Markets Surprised As a general rule I don't even enquire to unpriced ads as they make me suspicious as to why they can't disclose it. marigold

Maybe the tag "farmer's market" isn't actually a particularly good one any more as it's become too associated with luxury items, high prices and middle class foodies? "Local produce market" is a bit more cumbersome, but might appeal to a wider audience. Katieowl

I agree with Marigold...I'd be expecting a different shopping experience under the label local produce market... my mental "Oh it'll be expensive" bell probably wouldn't ring....not until I'd checked it out anyway! dolmen

It really has been all said ...
I don't go to our local one because..

too far on the wrong day
too pricey for everyday
no organic or very little

the supermarkets are now stocking more and more organic produce, I try and buy as much as I can but within a price range over standard produce.
Farmers markets are a rip off, they want their own mark up and the shop keepers too ... it might work if they had their own and plus a little more ...
I know some stall holders that just buy from wholesalers and sell it on at shop prices, doesn't work with me, sorry.
Chez

There's no need to apologise simply because your local market is unscrupulous. But please don't tar all of us with the same brush. Rob R

Farmers markets are a rip off, they want their own mark up and the shop keepers too ... it might work if they had their own and plus a little more ...

My bold; What do you mean? I don't understand.
Chez

Thank you, Rob. sueshells

I go to mine and usually buy a few things. First Sunday of the month, within walking distance, all proper hand made or home produced goods, everything is local except the fish (we are as far from the sea as you can get) but even that is just a small seller and seems genuine. Can't imagine that it is worth their while to travel but glad they do. It is expensive but overall the pricing is clear. I've not been able to run to ostrich steaks, so far, but bought a pair of pheasant breasts for 1.50. At the last market (on Sunday) I bought 3lbs Organic Wholemeal flour, a large plaice fillet, two pheasant breasts, a jar of Pear & Walnut chutney, a chocolate brownie, 6 eggs and two small mushroom quiches. From a personal point of view I like to buy things ready-made, now and then, and would rather buy them from someone at the Farmers' Market than from Tescos. There is usually a guy there who sells hot falafels and onion bhajis - he does a roaring trade. I live in affluent Buckinghamshire ao that probabaly makes a difference to the things that sell well. troyannick

I use the one in Lark lane Liverpool but its only on once a month and I can never remember which saturday its on,so if I miss it its 8 weeks between.Its really good though rabbit, wild boar great alison

The thing I think, that is self perpetuating, is when there aren't too many people in the market, and you feel obliged to buy something, after you have chatted to the stall holder for a while.

On the other foot, when I used to go to the market I only stopped as I got out priced. My eggs had to sell a lot, compared to the 2 meat places, that also stuck a few eggs on their stall too.
gz

Farmers markets are a rip off, they want their own mark up and the shop keepers too ... it might work if they had their own and plus a little more ...

My bold; What do you mean? I don't understand.

I don't understand the question either. Yes, you pay rent as a stall holder, but not a percentage.
Farmers Markets in Wales have a website, as does Usk, the one I sell at.
Practically everything is produced by the stallholders, except for the Fair Trade Coffee man (imported direct from the coffee plantation) and the Fair Trade /Wholefood chocolates and other goodies stall. Even the one doing olives and olive oil is importing from their family farm in Italy!! If they were just buying from the wholesaler they wouldn't get a place on the market.
Chez

Having thought about this for a day or two, I think this is about the perception that someone selling their own stuff shouldn't be pricing it as high as a 'proper' shop. ie, that you should sell on your stall at wholesale prices rather than retail.

Which kind of raises the 'what on earth would be the point of that' question.

Alison: we pretty much don't allow stallholders to sell things that are other people's 'main' trade item. The first week I started with the eggs, everyone else was most apologetic that they had a few on their stalls. However, we don't have a 'dedicated' honey producer, so a lot of people bring a few jars to sell alongside their own stuff. Ditto, we have just got a new apple juice provider started; so people who have been bringing a few bottles will stop.
alison

Of course I don't really agree with that either.

I want to have a choice of who I buy from , not be told that your eggs must come from farm A.

The difficulties with selling eggs, as you know, they are cheap, and the mark up is small, whereas a few joints of meat, has a greater mark up, so you don't have to sell as many.
Chez

Yes, it's the economies of scale thing.

We were chatting about the 'single market' thing the other week. We all agreed that although we are in favour of competition and all that good stuff, splitting the trade between two stalls selling the same thing at one market did in some circumstances make it uneconomical for traders to come. So it's a kind of devil's fork, really. We can offer choice between producers selling the same thing to the consumer; but at the same time, that will eventually limit choice, because producers will be reluctant to commit to a stall when they know that it could cease to become viable.

We pay 25 per week for our stalls. 20 of that is to the council for the pitch and the marquee. 5 is for 'us' as a market, out of which we cover the pay of the person from the council who puts the stalls up and takes them down. We need eight stalls per week to break even and over the winter we have been struggling to get that. After my stall fees and my petrol, I go home with about fifty quid. The plant lady is giving up at the end of this month, because she's not covering her costs.

It's a delicate balance.
gil

And if you really thought about your costs, maybe even fewer of you would be there.
How many traders cost in their travel to and time attending the market, never mind the actual cost of production of the goods, again maybe including own time, even at minimum wage ?
I've heard too many traders say, 'oh, I had not too bad a day - I covered the cost of the stall, and a wee bit more'.

That's no way to earn a living. Pocket money, or a tax loss to offset against other income, maybe. But not any kind of living.
Chez

Exactly.

Small farming is pants, really, as a money-making thing. It's a lifestyle.
gz

The stall costs me 22 on the first Saturday of the month or 20 on the third (fewer stalls and customers. I just do the first, usually )

I'm aiming to cover at least stall and fuel costs in the Winter. I'm slowly getting a few direct orders, but the Court Cupboard Gallery is getting publicity. I know that I've made sales at the gallery because of that. Even if they buy someone else's work, or just coffee and cake at the gallery it is helping keep a valuable outlet going for the co-operative.
Tavascarow

Having thought about this for a day or two, I think this is about the perception that someone selling their own stuff shouldn't be pricing it as high as a 'proper' shop. ie, that you should sell on your stall at wholesale prices rather than retail.

Saying the produce is to expensive isn't the same as saying I feel I'm being ripped off.
I understand why the produce costs what it does in as much of it has higher welfare standards, handmade etc & as has been said stall rental & travelling costs should be taken into account also.
I just can't afford those prices when there's a perfectly good butcher, greengrocer, delicatessen in the area already.
Rob R

Having thought about this for a day or two, I think this is about the perception that someone selling their own stuff shouldn't be pricing it as high as a 'proper' shop. ie, that you should sell on your stall at wholesale prices rather than retail.

Which kind of raises the 'what on earth would be the point of that' question.

Kinda, yeah - you get that in every day life as a direct-seller however you sell, a certain proportion of your potential market don't see the costs & assume it should be priced at about the level of some dodgy deal with a bloke down the pub. "No sir, it won't be cheaper for cash, in fact it would be more because I have to pay extra on cash paid into the bank..."
Chez

Saying the produce is to expensive isn't the same as saying I feel I'm being ripped off.

Yes, in retrospect, perhaps I should have phrased that one better.
gil

Saying the produce is to expensive isn't the same as saying I feel I'm being ripped off.

Yes, in retrospect, perhaps I should have phrased that one better.

Both would be valid categories for this poll.
I think your 'too expensive' was fine.

I suspect that in the current recession, the price of produce sold at farmers markets is beyond many people's budgets for 'everyday' food (as opposed to occasional 'treats').
Doesn't mean it's necessarily a rip-off.
dpack

factors that put me off the york one

i get better meat than they sell for a better price
the game is not traceable to my standards
the idea of buying un refrigerated pies ,fingered cheese etc isnt pretty
we make cakes and get staff discount at betty's
prices are high for stalls which means prices are high in respect of quality ,volume sales low and some stalls are grumpy ,grubby,dull or rather specialist in a nonlocal way (bushmeat,olives etc )
the rent is such that selling spuds or leeks would be a financial disaster so folk dont try

i do get veg from the permanant stalls of local market gardeners and the local veg shop
ninat

I tend to go direct to our local small farm for our meat. i have a budget about every 2-3 months then put in an order - sometimes have to wait a bit but having a chest freezer helps. Fee

Our nearest main one is over 15 miles away and on random 2nd Tuesday of every other month or something equally as ridiculous.

I think it is more the lack of regularity rather than the distance that puts me off, can never remember when they are!

That said, I'll go and check because it's been a while.
Shan

Most Farmers markets fall on the wrong day, so the only one I tend to go to is the Usk Farmers market as it falls on a Saturday. I would prefer it if it were every Saturday because I have been guilty of forgetting which Saturday it is... although I am lucky that Tom (the man who sells chickens) is flexible enough for me to collect my chicken from him.

I would prefer is there was more variety at the Usk market but I would say that I always buy my chicken there as it is excellent and I have seen the farm they are raised on. I do occasionally purchase plants from the chap there. His roses are quite good.

The veg looks ok but it is quite expensive. The trealy farm stall sells very good produce and when I feel like a treat we do purchase a few bits from him.
jema



The veg looks ok but it is quite expensive. The trealy farm stall sells very good produce and when I feel like a treat we do purchase a few bits from him.

The veg is the saving grace of our one, in that there is a range and freshness that you don't see in the Supermarket, there is no greengrocers around here at all Sad
I don't think the prices on veg are too scary, and that also helps.
But then veg is only fresh when you buy it for the greens, so a once a week farmers market can't really be the main port of call for veg.
Shan

I must admit we tend to do well through most of the year because we grow our own - it's only this time of the year that everything we eat seems to be leeks, kale, cabbage carrots & parsnips. I really must make more of an effort with growing squashes! evie2

We don't have one near, all the ones I know about are 20 plus miles away and often on weekdays. Our local market, a mile away was taken over by cheep clothing stalls and the producers moved out. Tesco came in and stuffed the market up even more. I really didn't think it had survived but recently I saw a banners up for a farmers market so I'll try it out. We do use a farm shop, 3 miles away, a bit limited but good quality. NorthernMonkeyGirl

There seems to be two kinds of Farmers' Market - one with lots of treats, home made venison pie, barrels of olives, hand made soaps... The other a new version of what I would just call "a market" - fresh local veg and meat primarily. More raw ingredients than prepared foods.
Sad, seeing as the old markets were left to die off and are now full of cheap clothes and mobile phone unlockers Sad

At the minute, the first type I can only window shop at, the second I would love to have and use regularly.
spuds

well i never ,
i manage a farmers/produce market which is open every tuesday and friday with up to 16 stalls
can i get any true farmers! can i heck Sad
yes i do think some goods are over priced
Mistress Rose

We are stall holders at some Farmers Markets, and I would like to reply to one or two of the comments made.

In Hampshire, Hampshire Farmers Markets (HFM) have markets, usually the same Saturday or Sunday each month at various places around the county. If you had a market each week in the same place stallholders would not be able to get to more than 1 or 2 ever, so some would die out. There are leaflets, a website giving dates, and you can even get a reminder e-mail about your local one.

For some small farmers this is their main outlet. It is not always possible, for access, planning and siting reasons to sell through your own farm. At other times the farmers will be working on their farm but because of the markets can get their produce to people all over the county.

We have tried a farmers market tacked on to an ordinary market. We do firewood, hand turned and carved items, bean sticks and other woodland and coppice products. Most people at that market prefered to buy the plastic alternative at the other part of the market, even though it may have been more expensive. We often didn't make our stall cost, so gave up with it.

We try to keep our prices reasonable, but the stall cost has to be taken into account, and this does mean we make very little profit some months.

If I do see a farmers market, I will look round and may or may not buy depending on whether I want something. I do buy from other stall holders at the markets we sell at.
Cathryn

My impression is that the Farmers Market in Winchester does okay. There is always a general market on at the weekend as well. Is this one of the ones you use Rose? Chez

Thank you, Rose, that's interesting stuff. Especially the reminder email thing.

Spuds, where are you looking for your producers and how much do you charge for a pitch?
gardening-girl

Hello Spuds.
We used to live near NA,and still visit the Smallholders Market/Market hall.Really good butcher that sells proper Hogs pudding.
spuds

to answer the two questions
do not have any one selling meats so it would be good to have someone come along with that,do not need any one with cakes/bread
had a guy doing shellfish for a few weeks would like that back
costs 24.00 per day we supply the stalls and tables
you can do just one day or both (Tuesday/Friday) every week
you must have public liabilty insurance
its no good just once a month,you the trader can't build a buiness
public need to know your going to be there each week

thank you for the good word about our butcher i will pass it on to him (bakers the Butcher)
contact markets@teignbridge.gov.uk
tel;01626215426
Chez

We have spent quite a while getting someone to do meat on a regular basis. I will keep an ear open for you. gil

There are differences in regional / national patterns of agriculture that affect FMs.

Here in southern Scotland, we never had a problem getting enough 'proper farmer' meat sellers for our farmers markets. Too many livestock farmers wanting stalls, if anything.

The main problem was finding fresh fruit and veg sellers, of locally grown produce. A climate thing : farming here is dairy, meat and arable for livestock feed. Not fruit/veg.

Horticulture wasn't viable for local smallholders to earn a living - one couple I knew, he went off working on Xmas tree plantations in the autumn/winter, and she made soup and preserves, to make ends barely meet.

Agree about the increased emphasis at FMs on 'treat' food rather than everyday / basics - it would have been hard for many small producers not to go with the pressure from national enterprise agencies towards the holy grail of 'value added' - i.e. more processed - foodstuffs. Even though the agency was at pains to point out that the producers and the product in themselves ('farmhouse-fresh' 'local', etc) were sufficient 'value-added'.

I think that needs to be balanced out against effects of recession on consumer behaviour (spending less and buying more basic food), and the possible negative associations of 'ready meals' with 'junk food', as not the kind of thing FMs should be selling.

And don't get me started on what appeared to be a franchise for marinated olives, right down to seeing the same products, containers, and stall layout whichever market I went to.
Rob R

There are differences in regional / national patterns of agriculture that affect FMs.

Here in southern Scotland, we never had a problem getting enough 'proper farmer' meat sellers for our farmers markets. Too many livestock farmers wanting stalls, if anything.

The main problem was finding fresh fruit and veg sellers, of locally grown produce. A climate thing : farming here is dairy, meat and arable for livestock feed. Not fruit/veg.


That's another reason I opted never to do FMs.
Chez

And don't get me started on what appeared to be a franchise for marinated olives, right down to seeing the same products, containers, and stall layout whichever market I went to.

We don't do that sort of thing - it doesn't fit in our stallholder criteria, thankfully.

If people are doing 'value added' stuff, then they have to get a certain amount of their ingredients locally. So the lady who does pies and savouries, for example, buys her meat by the animal, from the farm next to her on Exmoor.

Reading back through the thread, I think we, as a market, are suffering a bit from negatives that may apply to other markets but don't apply to us; the bought in stuff and 'treats only' stuff being good examples.

We want to be the sort of place the people can come every week and do most of their food shopping for their family; as well as offering 'treat' stuff as well. A viable alternative to the supermarket.

It's not going to be cheaper than supermarket own-brand stuff, obviously. But the quality will be better, the food traceability and the food miles will be better, for the money that customers spend.

ETA: Gil, we have fantastic veg down here, but have had a heck of a job getting meat Smile
robkb

interesting stuff. Especially the reminder email thing.

This definitely helps. Our local market at Blackheath is part of the London Farmer's Market group (www.lfm.org.uk) and they email subscribers a newsletter specific to their market listing any special events eg plant fairs, carol singing, and also details of new or specialist traders.
Nick

Then, let's concentrate on the good stuff. what will bring you to a fm?

Parking is true, but it's unlikely we can influence that for chez. Or can we?

If its pay and display, what level of spend would you like to see before you paid two quid towards their parking ticket?

For me, samples, samples, samples. I buy more food to eat on the spot than I take home. But, I have my meat from the freezer, and veg delivered. Eggs, bread, cheese, and cakes would be my shopping list I think. I rarely go, becaus I have a job on Tuesday's. I do use a lot of far shops as I pass them, however, which is kind of half way.
Chez

I buy more food to eat on the spot than I take home.

That is a very typical 'bloke' thing, apparently. There has been some money put in to studying shopping patterns at markets in Devon and Somerset and one of the big things that stood out is that men like to buy stuff to eat on the hoof.

Our juice chap was selling mulled and spiced apple juice last week in the cold and it was going down a treat. We are kicking around the idea of other stuff.

Financial incentives - money off type stuff - is going to be quite hard to set up, I think, because to make it fair, we would need to spread the cost across all of us and someone would have to administrate it.

Looking at the poll results, it's the perception that it's too expensive and the 'not the right time' things that are the two killers, so if we could start to address those somehow, that would do a lot of good.
Jamanda

I also still think it would be worth you doing the opposite thread, why do you shop at a farmers market?. Just as you have found negatives which don't apply to you, you might find positives that don't apply to you - yet. Nick

It probably is a bloke thing.

For us, I tend to buy food I can eat now, like, within the next three minutes, or food that I can use to cook. She buys things in packets. She spends far more than I do, and yet I produce the food we can eat at mealtimes. I do not factor in buying tractors, or diesel, or freezers, or slaughterers because that way lies madness.

Anyway, I shan't derail the thread.
Chez

I don't think that IS derailing the thread, it's all good insights in to marketing.

Jamanda, I will do that now, then!
Nick

I only meant because that's all our shopping, not just fm. Chez

Ah, right. Different kind of farmer's market Smile
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