When farmers sell directly to consumers, they obtain higher returns; and these returns are not just monetary. In fact, selling directly to consumers allow producers and growers to make direct commutation with customers and build their further interest in your business – to receive more information about their farm and products, learn about their story and build a positive relationship that inspires trust.
Farmers’ markets are the most popular medium for direct marketing in agriculture. While fruits and veggies are the first thing to strike the mind when we mention farmers’ market, there are, unsurprisingly, many other things that sell quite well at the local markets.
Maybe you did not find success with selling produce at your local farmers’ market because there are already many growers selling the same produce. Or perhaps you are not much of a farmer and grow produce just for your family. Even if you manage to sell veggies and fruits with high profits at the farmers’ market, there are always going to be times when your crops are not ready to go to the market or the produce you grow is out of season. This is where and why you may consider adding other things to your direct selling approach.
Here’s a list of things that aren’t produce but widely purchased in farmers’ markets and can make your business stand out amongst other vendors and producers.
BEAUTY AND HOME PRODUCTS
As more and more consumers grow health-conscious and switch to organic goods to get away chemicals and ingredients used in cosmetic, bathroom and other home products, farmers’ markets open up great opportunities for existing or new sellers at local markets.
Herbal soaps, lotions, natural deodorants and fragrances, beeswax lip balms, sugar and coffee scrubs, hand wash and creams- there are endless things you can make out of excess produce or natural plants and flowers to provide customers with healthier, safer and more attractive alternatives to beauty and cosmetics products. To be unique, attract more people towards your products and make more money, you can try using unusual ingredients that no one else in the market is doing.
HANDMADE CRAFTS & DECOR
If you have kids at home who love creating crafts, the possibilities of making money while have fun are endless. From things as simple as doll clothes and aprons to more elaborate yet useful crafts like small sculptures and wood carvings, hand-carved spoons, potholders, beeswax candles, handcrafted chopsticks, plants labels and more, handmade art and craft items are one of things that attract a lot of customers at the farmers’ markets and help vendors earn some extra cash without too much of commitment.
The best part is these items do not come with a lot of customer expectations and don’t require you to be an expert either. As long as you are interested in putting your hobbies and skills into practice to make some unique, eye-catchy and useful items, it will be an effortless way for you to make extra cash.
Homemade goods like cookies, muffins, breads, tea cakes, and brownies are a popular purchase amongst customers. People love it, especially when they are made using all-natural ingredients at home. If you are a baking wizard and known for your luscious cupcakes and pies in your neighbourhood, you have the potential to earn a lot if you are willing to put in time. Baked goods are cheap to make in large batches, so you will definitely make large profits.
While it’s possible you will already have a few competitors in your local farmers’ market selling the same products as yours, remember that not everyone is a good baker and customers have different tastes too. If you have some personal baked specialities with your own unique flavours that your family and friends absolutely love to savour and demand often, let customers try them too. Moreover, you can stand out by making a variety of baked goods especially for such vegans and people with special dietary needs, such as gluten-free and sugar-free items.
If you are someone with the best fruit jam or salsa recipe in town, bottle it up and let everybody out there have a taste of your scrumptious recipe while your earn some cash for it in addition to just verbal praises. Homemade sauces and foods are hot sellers in the local farmers’ markets as they are healthier and tastier than those shelf-stored supermarket canned preserves.
BBQ sauce, pickles, jellies, relishes, sauerkraut, fruit butters and many other canned foods make for an impulse buy and can last longer than shelf-stable foods that sit on grocery shelves for months.
While the aforementioned categories covered most items that could be sold profitably at a farmers’ market, here are some additional inspirations that could help if you are stuck with ideas.
- Vintage glass rolling pins
- Cookie cutters
Gourmet Cat and Dog Foods
- Peanut butter cookies
- Bacon strips
- All-natural flavoured treats
- Vegetable cages
- Starting trays
- A variety of seeds
- Fresh juices
- Fresh lemonade
- Healthy smoothies
Once you know the broad spectrum of choices you have when it comes to selling at a farmers’ market, your sales and success will depend on different factors, such as the packaging and presentation of your products at your booth, the quality of products/service your provide, pricing and, of course, your professionalism. Do your product and competitive research before you choose any items on a whim, to make sure you and your customers get the most out of your direct marketing venture.