Last Saturday morning was a beautiful day to start off Pontotoc’s “Off the Square” Farmers’ Market. Out in the fresh air with birds chirping, sun shining, and surrounded by fresh produce, natural products and unique handmade items, it is no wonder that farmers’ markets are growing in popularity across the country.
Perhaps our young citizens have pondered the idea of making extra cash by selling their produce or handmade wares. It can be as easy as grabbing your goods, setting up a table and bringing in customers!
First, decide what you would like to bring to the market. A great choice is produce of any kind. Also sold at the market are: eggs, baked goods, jams and jellies, canned goods, honey, natural products, crafts and handmade items. Some items, such as eggs, dairy, meat and refrigerated foods require training and permits in order to sell. Check with our local extension office for guidelines on specific products sold at local markets.
Next, contact the Chamber of Commerce or our market manager, Ina Graham, to obtain an application to sell at the market. It is a simple form that includes your contact information and a list of items you wish to sell.
As market day approaches, decide how you will display and price your items. Picnic tables may be available, but bringing your own table is best. You will need containers for your items, signs with prices, a cashbox for your change, and bags for customers. If your produce is priced per item or bundle, there is no need to bring a scale. Pricing your items is something you will learn as you gain experience selling. Ask other vendors for advice, check with the extension office and check out produce prices as you are grocery shopping.
Remember, your customers will be comparing your prices with what they see in grocery stores and other markets! Your price needs to cover what you spent to produce the item (think about fertilizer, seeds, organic sprays) with enough extra to make a profit. Keep a record of your expenses so you can determine what is profitable to produce and sell.
Finally, look for upcoming programs sponsored by our extension office supporting youth involvement in our farmers’ market. We have exciting things planned! Have a happy week in your yard and garden and I’ll see everyone at the market!
Do you have a gardening question? Call the Pontotoc Extension Service at 662-489-3911 and ask to leave a question for the Master Gardeners. Pontotoc County Master Gardeners are trained volunteers who help the MSU Extension Service and serve the citizens of Pontotoc County.