Farmer’s Market Tips From Farmers
In a previous blog, we shared tips on how to get started at your local farmer’s market. After you’ve done all the necessary work to set up your vendor station, you’re probably eager to start selling the commodities you’ve worked so hard to produce. But as most farmer’s market veterans can tell you, even if you’ve checked off all those important items on your list, actually selling may not be as simple. Sometimes a little advice from the pros can make all the difference and even boost your confidence. We went out to the Franklin Farmer’s Market in Franklin, Tennessee to gather advice from local vendors and spoke to two farmers who each had over 10 years selling at markets around in the area. Here’s what we learned.
Pictured: Jenny Drake of Peaceful Pastures with Kevin at the Franklin Farmer’s Market
Jenny Drake and her husband, Darrin own Peaceful Pastures in Hickman, Tennessee, about an hour east of Nashville. She’s been setting up their vendor booth at the Franklin Farmer’s Market for the better half of a decade now, while also selling at two other farmer’s markets in the area during the summer. Jenny and Darrin raise all the cattle on Peaceful Pastures to be completely antibiotic-free, including grass-fed angus cattle, pork, poultry and lamb. Their lamb is particularly famous amongst customers.
She wakes up early each Saturday morning to get her meats packed in the cooler for the market. Then she makes the hour and a half drive from Hickman to Franklin. Once Jenny arrives, it takes 30 more minutes of set up at the booth, then she works the booth herself, mingling and selling for over five hours. The day comes to a close, and there’s another 30 minutes of clean-up before she can make the hour and a half journey back, By that time, Jenny’s Saturday is spent. It’s hard work, but it’s work she enjoys. Here is her advice to newcomers to the farmer’s market:
“My advice for newcomers would be to find someone who sells something you want to sell and work for them for at least a year. Also, you have to be willing to give up your weekends and spending time with friends and family to sell at the market.”
Pictured: Paula Morton of Ed Johnson’s Honey Farm in Goodlettsville, Tennessee
Paula Morton represents, her father, Ed Johnson’s Honey Farm which is located in Goodlettsville, Tennessee. Like Jenny, she has been selling at the market for 10 years and also sells at two other markets in the area over the summer.
Honey bees have been raised on her family’s farm since 1918, making Paula a 3rd generation beekeeper. To say that she’s passionate about honey would be an understatement. Johnson’s honey comes out of a certified bee house which is thoroughly inspected on a yearly basis. You can rest assured that you are receiving the purest honey possible when purchasing from the Johnsons. Paula sells different varieties of honey at the farmer’s market. Wildflower, a honey with a taste that is less sweet than supermarket honey, is everyone’s favorite. In addition to honey, she also sells beeswax, bee pollen and honey sticks. Her advice to farmer’s market newcomers is simple:
“You have to know how to work. If you’re not prepared to get out of bed in the mornings, then you can’t be your own boss.”