More Farmers Market Thoughts


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I finally thought of a quick answer to the “$5.00 for a candy bar?” comment: “Yes, but it tastes like a $5.00 candy bar.” I told Chad, and he came back with an ever better answer: “Yes, but it tastes like a $10 candy bar.”

A super-cheerful tone goes a long way, including when listing prices. Excitement about virtually anything is good. I try to keep genuine — um, if that’s technically possible.

A lot of people look at the Gourmet Weekly clipping displayed on my table, and ask if the picture on it is of me. I never realized how much I apparently look like Ruth Reichl.

I kind of enjoy incrementally carrying my tent, tables, etc, across the plaza to my space. Sadly, it’s probably the most exercise I get all week. I borrowed a dolly once for the heavy tent, and managed to knock into everything within striking distance. For a hundred yards.

The first week, I didn’t know what to expect in terms of samples, so I just offered one sample at a time to anyone who wanted a sample. Now, I have samples of just about everything (neatly stored in my cash box, which ironically, is useless for organizing cash — better for change, which I don’t use), and I ask what they want to sample. It’s kind of a lot of choices, but I try to narrow it down fast and I’d rather have them try what they want the most.

It’s best when people come up to my booth on their own, but smiling and looking people in the eye and asking in a friendly tone if they’d like to try a sample as they’re walking past has proven to be quite effective. But I don’t want people to sample as a favor — I don’t have a ton of samples.

The samples of chocolates always go first.

The popular flavors vary from week to week. There’s little predicting. For now, I just try to bring as much of everything as I can.

The most bargaining happened during the first week of July. I wonder if it’s a bill-paying thing. I’m still not amused by bargainers. But I am still trying to figure out a decent volume discount.

A crowd attracts a crowd, which is great, but hard to manage. I’ve never been good at talking to more than one person at a time, so it’s hard to know where to direct my attention. But I’ve noticed that if the people closest to the table don’t buy anything, the people on outskirts almost always drift away, so maybe that’s a clue.

Repeat customers, and people who come up to tell me how much they enjoyed their purchase from the previous week, are completely fantastic.

Another vendor told me that that, as he speaks, people tend to look around the booth and it helps to have signs that confirm what you’re saying, and small print doesn’t do much. So, I revised my “menu” to have bigger fonts, less description, and “organic & local ingredients.” I was a little reluctant to take away the descriptions, but no one ever did read them. And there are already descriptions of each candy bar on display (they’re the most complex, structurally), and I usually verbally describe products anyway.

I’m a little confused by people who try a sample, apparently like it, and ask “Will you be here next week?” Maybe they already spent their budget for the day, but if no one buys anything, then maybe I won’t be there next week. Or it’s just their way of exiting gracefully.

Since the market starts before lunch when it’s slow, I always fear that I won’t sell anything during the whole market.

It stays admirably cool under the tent. I often wear a hoodie, even when it’s in the 80s.

I’ve gotten into the habit of treating myself to a refreshing horchata after I finish setting up my booth. I try to bring a small snack, too, but one of these days, I’ll get one of the bacon-wrapped hot dogs.

2 Responses to “More Farmers Market Thoughts”

  1. fattypr Says:

    I like the way Chad thinks!

  2. Sku Says:

    I’m a little confused by people who try a sample, apparently like it, and ask “Will you be here next week?” Maybe they already spent their budget for the day, but if no one buys anything, then maybe I won’t be there next week. Or it’s just their way of exiting gracefully.

    Oooh, I do this sometimes. Yes, I suppose it’s a graceful exit. You try something, you may like it but just not want it for that week. It’s something to say to convey that you may return in the future.

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