Farmers markets used to be thought of as a place where vegetable and fruit growers could sell on a Saturday to make extra money. The ability to make money selling food at farmers market is a fairly new phenomenon and growing. People have discovered there is a market for homemade, organic, reasonably priced, healthy food. That does not imply that every delicacy found will meet all of the criteria listed above but it will probably fit in there somewhere.
To make profit selling prepared food at farmers market, there is a list of considerations to research and implement before the official set up day. The list that follows is by no means complete but will provide enough information to begin.
1. Is a business license or vendor permit required?
Check with your local county clerk’s office regarding permits and such. Sometimes this task can be accomplished online.
2. Is a health department food handler certificate required?
Food handler certificates are also commonly available online. Many local governments offer free courses on this subject prior to taking the test online. It can be that simple.
3. Consider the health and safety options for selling the chosen product.
A product that requires any special handling such as refrigeration or heat will require searching out options to provide that need. It will also drive up the operating costs of the business. Check with the local used restaurant supply for equipment. The commercial grade stainless steel they sell is approved for serving prepared food.
4. What type of product will you sell?
Considering the information imparted in number three above, opposed to selling food ready to eat; sell packaged goods. Take into account the season the local farmers market operates; visualize the weather and the setting. How appealing is the chosen product going to appear on such a day?
5. Will you sell multiple prepared products?
The number of different products that will be sold is directly related to the effort required to produce them. For instance, an individual starts with jellies, jams, and breads. They soon develop a weekly customer following and find themselves spending a lot more time in the kitchen than anticipated. Consistency in a few products is more advisable than varying the inventory frequently.
6. What’s special about the product(s) that would bring a customer to farmers market?
What should be special about the product is that it’s not regularly available in grocery stores; it’s natural, healthy, homemade and extraordinary in flavor and quality.
7. Prepare a business plan.
Check out the market for competition, look for the customer base, notice the equipment others are using and comply, calculate the cost of producing the product, add the profit margin, estimate your sales. This is a very brief summary of a business plan but how complex does this task really need to be? Make adjustments after analyzing the plan.
If the list above sounds intimidating; it’s not. Proceeding down the list step by step will ease the task by creating a focus, and get you on the path making money selling food at farmers market!