National Farmers Market Week takes place during the first full week of August every year. Let’s celebrate it! As a small business owner, regardless of your industry, this week you have the opportunity to gain visibility, market your product, promote your brand, connect with other business owners in your community and have a great time!
Probably there is a farmers market near you to visit during that week. Farmers markets bring great value to their communities: they provide access to fresh and healthy food and they stimulate local economies by creating jobs. In addition, they support socially active communities. Did you know that farmers and ranchers receive only 15 cents of every food dollar that consumers spend at traditional food outlets? At a farmers market, however, 100% of your food dollar goes to your local farmer. These statistics from the Farmers Market Coalition speak for themselves:
Are you convinced now? Your first step should be to find a farmers market near you using this USDA directory. To get the most out of National Farmers Market Week, follow these 10 tips:
10 Ways to Get the Most Out of National Farmers Market Week
🍎 1. Set your own stand
It’s the most obvious way to gain visibility, promote your product and attract potential customers. It’s not too late to start planning, but we know the task can seem overwhelming. No worries! The Farmers Market Coalition website has numerous resources and tools that vendors and participants can use to plan everything with minimum time and effort. You will even find a 2019 NFMW press release template you can download to share the news in your local newspaper or a social media cheat sheet you can use to promote the event throughout the week.
You can start by taking the NFMW Resource Webinar to learn everything you need in order to participate.
🍞 2. Leave your business card
If you decide not to participate actively in the National Farmers Market Week, simply make the best of your trip. Leave your business card on each stand you visit. Offer a discount to every farmer, rancher or artisan you meet for their next visit to your business. Don’t be easily forgotten: use these creative business cards ideas to design your business cards and leave a mark.
🍉 3. Try something new
This week is the time to venture into unknown territory by trying something new and exciting: if you have a restaurant, give seasonal fruits and vegetables a try. Taste the local honey, bread, and artisan cheeses, or any yummy ingredient that is not currently in your menu but you could consider integrating. Who knows, it could become one of your favorite ingredients or the top choice among your customers.
Obviously, farmers markets are the ideal place if you are in the food industry, but remember that they are also stocked with a variety of products beyond fresh ingredients: arts and crafts, hand-made accessories, toys an clothes, natural personal care products locally resourced, plants and flowers. Does your business sell or use any of these products? Just wander the stands and find what most strikes you!
🌽 4. Shop for your usual products and embrace local
This is also the perfect time to have your regular shopping list at hand: you can find local products of higher quality than you usually buy, and negotiate better terms than your current supplier provides. Don’t forget customers love local products: using seasonal tomatoes from a nearby orchard, wine from a local vineyard, or cage-free eggs in your restaurant is a way to help your community and set your restaurant apart. The same applies if, for example, you own a beauty salon and offer your customers skin and hair products based on natural ingredients and produced locally: it’s a powerful marketing tool!
🧀 5. Look for potential partners
Of course, you should not limit yourself to introducing yourself and calling it a day. Evaluate every small business with a presence in the market as a potential partner. Partnering with a small business that complements yours is an excellent way to bring your product or service to a wider audience and take advantage of existing resources.
It doesn’t have to be complicated. Let’s say you have a coffee shop: you can display in your establishment the arts and crafts of a local artisan who lacks a showroom of their own. This will attract more customers to your business, and your partner will have a place to sell their products. It’s a win-win situation!
🍯 6. Increase your network
Don’t restrict your network to business owners like you. Bring out your more sociable side, talk to visitors, promote your business without being overwhelming. In other words, make friends! Remember that word-of-mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing tools, and it can perfectly start with yourself. If you do it well, expect an increase in customers during the days following National Farmers Market Week. It’s up to you that they become loyal customers!
🍷 7. Design a menu based on NFMW products
During National Farmers Market Week, design a sample menu made entirely from farmers market food, and emphasize the fact that it’s a limited-time offer. This will incite costumers and increase your sales. Also, use your customer feedback to create permanent dishes on your menu.
Again, this idea is not exclusive to restaurants or coffee shops. Do you remember the hypothetical beauty salon? How about offering a limited-time beauty treatment based on local honey or yogurt?
🍭 8. Learn something new
Farmers, ranchers, and artisans can be excellent teachers, and talking to them about their production processes and techniques will undoubtedly be a rewarding experience. Once back to work, share what you learned! You can post a video on your social networks talking about your experience during National Farmers Market Week, providing tips other participants gave you, and inviting your customers to attend National Farmers Market Week next year.
🍶 9. Join the Farmers Market Coalition
We are sure you will enjoy your visit so much, that you won’t want to miss the opportunity to continue taking advantage of all these markets can offer. Becoming a member of the Farmers Market Coalition is a way to access valuable resources throughout the year, such as educational programs and exclusive benefits and discounts.
🎉 10. Have fun!
Who said that business and pleasure should not mix? During the National Farmers Market Week, you will find numerous fun activities for the whole family, games, contests, and even live music. It’s the perfect place to spend a relaxing day with your loved ones outside the workplace, and working without realizing it!
FAQs About Farmers Market
How do farmers market work?
A farmers market is a public place where farmers come together to sell products directly to consumers. Some farmers markets are fully or partially enclosed, but most are outdoors. Farmers markets sell any type of local produce and dairy products, and many also include inedible products (like local arts and crafts).
By cutting out middlemen, they offer farmers a more profitable way to sell their crops. If you want to set up a stand at your local farmers market, contact market operators as soon as possible. Some farmers markets have a waiting list. Also, be aware of the costs and permits and licenses you may need. The farmers market operators can give you a detailed list of the requirements.
Is it cheaper to buy at farmers market?
The belief that food at farmers markets is always more expensive is a myth. Conventionally raised produce is priced the same at supermarkets and farmers markets alike. Organic products are actually cheaper than at the grocery store.
Why is it better to shop at a farmers market?
You have access to fresh, locally grown foods, and fruits and vegetables at the peak of the growing season. Also, if you are in the food industry, this is a good place to find local providers and high-quality products.
How many farmers markets are in the US?
According to the Farmers Market Coalition, there are currently more than 8,600 markets registered in the USDA Farmers Market Directory.
We hope these ideas and activities help you get the most out of National Farmers Market Week whether you decide to buy products for your business or use this event as a marketing platform. Since you’re in it, why stop there? Join a newsletter that can give you the tools you need to become more profitable!