Tuesday, June 01, 2010

The Living History Farms Farmer's Market

Another big development since I last blogged as that we have begun the Wednesday night market at the Living History Farms in earnest. As a side bar ... if you are not aware of what the Living History Farms is then I encourage you to check out the link ... it is a really cool place! So far we have set up for the "Market Preview" on the opening and and three Wednesday evenings (two of which had great weather and one that had some serious storm action going on so we were inside). Here are some of my thoughts after just a few weeks ...
  • Probably the thing I love most about setting up at the market is the chance to interact with people. Not everybody I talk to purchases something (it seems like I chat with a few vegetarians each time), but it does give me the opportunity to share the farm and the reasons behind the way I farm. Plus I figure that each person I talk to gives me just that much more experience.
  • Setting up a display that catches peoples eye when all you are selling is frozen meat (that is hidden away in coolers) is a bit difficult. I think that we have a nice table with plenty of pictures and information, but we have a lot of people just wander by or others that stop but don't realize we have pork for sale! Hopefully some of that will be remedied by a new ten foot long vinyl sign that I'm having made. I am open for suggestions though!
  • Farmer's Markets have a lot more crafts than I would have guessed. Our market is small and in only it's second year, but there are a couple knit/sewing vendors and sometimes even three jewelry vendors. Plus, you have to remember there are only 17'ish vendors set up now. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, just something I didn't realize.
  • I think I'm coming to realize that garden produce is important. So far there hasn't been much available at the market and I think that keeps some people away ... even though I have great pork for sale each week! It will be interesting to see how things shake out as the garden harvest begins.
  • The Living History Farms is a very cool place featuring the agricultural history of Iowa in a hands on sort of way and with small-scale working farms. With that in mind I think this market has the potential to be equally as cool. Because they have staff on site they are able to offer pretty cool demonstrations and there has even been live music on two different Wednesdays. One thing to look forward to that I believe the blacksmith will be making an appearance this summer.
  • The biggest thing that I've come to learn so far is that I have a lot to learn! A lot to learn about marketing and setting up, but also just about the best way to go about things at the market. The best way to fill the coolers ... the best way to add up the purchases ... the best way to handle the transactions quickly ... and so much more. Plus, I've also learned it's nice if you don't forget stuff :: I'll work on that ;)
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