End of Summer at the Farmers Market

Now that the warm weather is starting to fade away and Thanksgiving is right around the corner, this is usually a good time to start planning how you’re going to store your digital scale during the “offseason”. This is assuming that you don’t sell in some of the winter markets that are becoming more popular. So, if you’re not going to be using your scale for awhile it’s a good time to plan how you’re going to store the scale.

Ideally, if you have the original box it is nice to store it in the original box with packing material. If you don’t have that, then try to find some kind of box that will allow you to safely store the scale so no damage gets done to it during the busy fall and winter months while you’re putting Thanksgiving decorations up and getting your Christmas decorations out of the attic. Be sure to include the AC Adapter and instruction book with your scale to make sure you have it when next season rolls around. You might want to contact your scale manufacturer and ask how they recommend you store your scale if you have an internal rechargeable battery.

Hopefully by planning ahead and keeping your scale in a safe place you will be ahead of the game in 2016. Of course, when spring rolls around we have a list of things we recommend for making sure your scale is working good for the upcoming market season.

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Rice Lake RS130 has a New Look and New Capacities and Features

For many years customers have used the Rice Lake RS-130 retail price computing scale. The scale featured brand name quality along with a few unique features which set it apart from the other scales that are included in this market. Recently, Rice Lake updated the look of the scale by changing the keypad color from the traditional black to a bright white color. They also added some new versions and capacities to their retail counter-top scale lineup. Below we’ll take a look at some of the changes.

The RS-130 and RS-160 retail scales are the ultimate choice for simple price computing applications. Delivering unmatched convenience and accuracy, the RS-130 and RS-160 provide one-button operation with weight displays in either pounds,kilograms or ounces. The new part numbers and capacities are listed below.

rice lake rs-160 retail scale

167941 …. RS-130 Standard Counter-Top Scale with 30 lb Capacity
30 lb x 0.01 lb
15 kg x 0.005 kg
480 oz x 0.2 oz

168100 …. RS-130 Scale with Pole Display (30 lb Capacity)
30 lb x 0.01 lb
15 kg x 0.005 kg
480 oz x 0.2 oz

167942 …. RS-160 Standard Counter-Top Scale with 60 lb Capacity
60 lb x 0.02 lb
30 kg x 0.01 kg
960 oz x 0.5 oz

168101 …. RS-160 Scale with Pole Display (60 lb Capacity)
60 lb x 0.02 lb
30 kg x 0.01 kg
960 oz x 0.5 oz

rice lake rs-160 scale with tower display

For added convenience, the RS-130 and RS-160 can toggle units of measure and save tare, price and nine direct price lookups. Cash back calculation allows you to quickly provide cash back for applications where a cash register is not present. The scales’ large, stainless steel platters provide ample room for product, and standard in-use covers assure years of trouble free operation.  The RS-130 and RS-160 are NTEP Certified (NTEP CC 04-067) and powered by an included rechargeable battery. A low-battery annunciator signals the operator when it’s time to recharge. The RS-130 and RS-160 offer the most accurate, portable and affordable solutions for simple price computing needs. You can place orders for this item by contacting Central Carolina Scale, an authorized Rice Lake distributor.

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National Farmers Market Week

The 16th annual Farmers’ Market Week runs from Sunday August 2nd through Saturday, August 8th. Of course we all know Farmers Markets are a great thing. The wonderful fruits and vegetables provide local customers with nutritious produce and provide local farmers with a relatively easy way to market their goods.

In Santa Fe, Alonzo said “Farmers markets are at the heart of many towns and cities, bringing together rural and urban communities, providing Americans with fresh, healthy food, and creating jobs and opportunities for local farmers and ranchers.” She continued, “USDA is proud to support farmers markets. Fifteen years ago, USDA worked with the Santa Fe Farmers Market to design this facility, and today it is one of the most successful markets in the country.”

The Santa Fe Market operates three times a week and draws as many as 5,000 visitors a day during its peak season. It is also one of more than 6,400 farmers markets across the country that accepts Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits as payment. AMS and USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) work together to help farmers markets accept SNAP benefits, giving recipients access to healthy foods, expanding the customer base for farmers, and encouraging the sale of local produce.

So be sure to get out your local farmers market this week and support your local  market(s) in your area. In fact, many are offering specials and a chance to try a few of the goodies out before you purchase.  If you’re interested in selling your vegetables at a local market, be sure to check out this site for additional tips for sellers who are looking to buy a certified scale.

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Torrey LPC-40L Review

In the entry for today, we wanted to provide you with some insight into the Torrey LPC-40L price computing scale. The scale does price computing functions and is NTEP approved, legal for trade. Now in full disclosure we heavily promoted this scale a few years back and we do still offer this scale to customers who wish to purchase it. However, we are not big fans of the brand.

The LPC-40L scale is a great deal and affordably priced. The scale is built very well and has a rugged enclosure. The display is visible to both the scale operator and the customer. The display has a bright green backlight which makes it very easy to read, however the display can be a little hard to read without the backlight. The power is provided by standard 110VAC power and/or the internal rechargeable battery. Generally speaking the LPC has been fairly reliable. Over the years we have sold several scales that were also the lowest priced in the marketplace and they were constantly needing parts and always received terrible reviews by customers. However, the LPC40L has been fairly popular with customers and typically if something does break on the scale, it is usually something that can be repaired or replaced fairly easily.

In our experiences, the LPC-40L typically has the following parts failures: keypads, battery, power issues. When we have one of these scales come in for repair, it is usually either a battery or keypad issue. Every so often it will be something to do with the power, either the AC adapter or the plug where the power adapter plugs in has come loose. Now the repair costs for something like that can range anywhere from around $25 to $100 including the labor. So if the repair is around $100 you have to decide if it’s worth repairing the scale or just spending a little more money and buying a new scale. The weighing platter is a little awkward and high compared to most similar scales. This is fairly common on all Torrey counter top scales. If you need to weigh items in a different unit other than pounds, it can be tricky to change the weight units. Continue reading

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High Quality Scale Labels

Believe it or not there are differences between different manufacturers of scale labels. If you own a label printing scale then you realize the need for affordable scale labels that are in stock. The recommended label of choice would be the products that the manufacturers offer. You can obtain high quality CAS scale labels and Ishida scale labels from Central Carolina Scale located in Sanford, NC. The labels that are supplied are high quality, manufacturer provided labels that feature vibrant color and good adhesive. There are a wide variety of choices available from labels with safe handling instructions to labels with room to print a bar code.

high quality LST-8020 scale labels

Contact the sales team at (919) 776-7737 for price quotes and lead times. In the majority of cases, the labels can ship out the same day the order is placed. Also, if you’re looking for other scale manufacturers labels such as TEC, Digi, Berkel, Toledo etc… Central Carolina Scale can assist you in most cases with those as well.

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Tips for Farmers Market Vendors

If you ask a lot of small farmers around the country they’ll tell you a similar story. They started out just planting a few crops here and there and over the course of a few months or a few years, their crops grew and grew to the point where they could start selling their fresh fruits and vegetables to friends or neighbors. Fortunately for many of them a local farmers market is nearby and provides a great location to sell fresh vegetables. In fact, there are literally thousands of farmers markets throughout the U.S. and more customers are demanding fresh home grown produce.

We suggest you check out a farmers market first before you take the plunge. See what sellers are peddling and what are the average price per pound for each type of fruit and vegetable. What type of scales are the sellers using? If you’re new to selling at the market, there are a few insider secrets you should know as well.

1. Do Market Research
Ideally, you’ll identify a potential farmers’ market the year before you want to start selling and visit it several times during the season. Get a feel for the market and attendance flow. Is there enough shopper volume to justify more vendors?

“Every market has its own culture and vibe,” explains Leigh Adcock, executive director of the Women, Food and Agriculture Network, an organization connecting women in sustainable agriculture. “Some markets cater to busy shoppers who want to quickly buy their week’s vegetables while others create a more social setting with music and kids activities. Talk to other growers and folks buying at the market to get a sense of what the market is like.”

2. Learn Farmers’-Market Rules
Understand the regulations of the particular farmers’ market you’re considering selling at. Ask the market manager questions, and make sure you can commit to the expectations. For example, you may inquire about rules regarding what you can sell. Some markets are “producer only,” which typically means you can only sell things you grew yourself, whereas others may allow you to resell other items or include things like crafts.

3. Start Small
Don’t go overboard—test the farmers’-market waters before investing in expensive tents and gear. See if you can find a market where you can sell as a “daily vendor” to get started. These are markets that will let you commit to one market at a time depending on available space. This way, you can get a feel for selling at the farmers’ market without over-committing. As you do these trial sales, take into account your driving time and costs and sales volume to determine if this particular market is a good long-term fit.

4. Identify Your Niche
How is what you’re selling different than other vendors at the farmers’ market? Sometimes it helps to specialize in selling varietals of one distinct item, such as garlic. Another route is to creatively package your items. Sure, a lot of farmers may be selling red, ripe tomatoes, but what if you sold green tomatoes, along with your recipe for fried green tomatoes?

Hopefully with this knowledge, you’ll be able to quickly decide what market(s) to sell your goods, what items to sell, how much to sell them for, and what supplies you’ll need like a good set of digital scales, portable tent, tables, etc…

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Farmers Markets are Opening Up In Your Area!

It’s an exciting time of the year isn’t it? Spring time is here and for many folks that means it is time to go to the local farmers market and pick up some farm fresh fruits and vegetables. Of course we’re partial to strawberries but the truth is there are lots of other types of produce and related items that you can purchase at your local market. See more here.

Are you ready for farmers’ market season? I know I am, and this year will be action packed. Many of our markets are opening up within the next couple of weeks, and there will be an abundance of delicious local goodies. If you did not buy anything over the winter from our local farms, this will be the time to stock up. To get ready for the season, there are a few things you may want to think about before you go to the market. Go early or at least mid-market hours so that you can get what you want. Build a relationship with the growers, and pre-order your items if you are not an early person. Just get there before the market closes. Most of the grower/vendors would love to have pre-orders so they know exactly what they need to bring. Don’t go late expecting the growers to cut their prices in half. These farmers have spent many hours and hard labor to get you the best products available. There is a very small margin of profit in what they sell you, and sometimes it is even at a loss. If we don’t pay our growers what they need to earn a profit, we will soon lose out on our farmers.

Bring a cooler, especially if you plan to grab lunch before heading home. This will keep your frozen meats, seafood and tender fruits and vegetables good for a few hours. If you want to make a conscious effort to buy local, make a meal plan for the week. Start your grocery shopping at the market first. This way you will get the freshest produce (most are picked the day/night before or early on the morning of the market), best price and everything you need.

Going to the farmers market is great for your family too. Children love to see all the different fruits and vegetables and interact with all the different people. Plus, you’re also providing fresh fruits and vegetables to your children which is a great way to promote nutrition as well.

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Are You Looking For a Scale to Weigh Vegetables?

On this blog we often talk about digital scales that weigh items and calculate price per pound. Often though we don’t discuss what types of items you can weigh with one of these retail scales. Anytime that a potential customer searches for a scale to weigh vegetables hopefully they will click on this site. Virtually, any of the scales that we have featured on this site in the past would be good choices to weigh most any type of vegetable. The tricky part can be the vegetable size and weight. For example if you were weighing heavy vegetables or a larger quantity then you might need a price computing scale with both a larger weighing surface and/or a larger weighing capacity. If that were the case, the CAS EB scale series could be the right choice for you.

cas eb series price computing scale

The CAS EB Series bench scale style Price Computing Scale with large capacity features your choice of three capacities available, with a maximum capacity of up to 300 pounds. Large Platform of either 13.8″ x 15.75″ or 15.75″ x 20.75″ is great for bulk weighing. And, if you wish a printer can be added to produce crisp, clean receipts and labels with the optional DLP-50 Label Printer or DEP-50 Receipt Printer. This scale could be a great choice for you if you find yourself constantly placing large items or large quantities of items on your traditional counter top digital scale. Of course the CAS EB series is NTEP approved with Certificate of Conformance COC #09-095.

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Low Cost Retail Scales

Recently I was doing a search online for a particular scale. As I was searching I came across a new scale that I had never seen before. It was a price computing scale that was being sold for an absolute ridiculous price. I looked it over and read the specifications and took a look at the product pictures. I couldn’t help but recall the last super low cost price computing scale that I had found. It was probably ten years ago and it was by far the cheapest scale on the market at that time. I bought one and tried it out and it seemed ok.  Anyway, we sold a few of them here and there. They did ok but to be honest to this day it is the most failure prone retail scale we have ever used. We get calls requesting replacement parts for this scale to this day.

This cheap scale that I just recently noticed also made me think of another scale that was the low cost scale of choice more recently. We sold a ton of this particular model and it was a good scale for the most part. Sure, it had a few failures from time to time. But mostly the failures were simple like a keypad, rechargeable battery, or AC adapter. All of which were pretty inexpensive. Our real downfall with this scale was the total lack of support that we received from the manufacturer.  All they seemed to care about was “moving boxes”.  I won’t go into great detail but it was one of the worst manufacturers we ever dealt with, and we basically deal with almost all of them.

So I guess my point in this article is to be careful. It’s your money so you can buy whatever item you want. Just understand that if something is priced really, really low there is usually a reason(s) that it is priced cheap. It could be low cost components, cheap load cell, poor quality control, foreign manufacturer, etc… In my experience with retail scales, most customers want a good deal but they also want to have confidence in Continue reading

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Time To Get Your Market Scale Out and Make Sure It’s Working

This month is a wonderful time to take out your old faithful digital scale and give it a good work out. Plug it in and make sure it powers up and charges if it has a battery. It might even be a good idea to order a spare battery to prepare for the spring.

Make sure all the buttons on the keypad work. This is especially important if you type in prices per pound using the number keys. Make sure the displays work on both front and back so that you and your customer are not “in the dark”.

Finally, take a look at the selection of Brecknell PC series scales currently available this winter from the sales team over at Central Carolina Scale. You may find a deal too good to pass on. Plus, you can always use a good backup unit or add a second scale to your produce stand so that your customers are able to purchase produce from you as fast as ever.

We’ve mentioned it before but we will say it again… the highest quality at the lowest price is the Brecknell product line. When you see the brand Brecknell you know it’s a name you can trust. What will surprise you is the remarkably affordable price. With the PC series, Brecknell Scale has taken weighing technology to a new level to offer an unbeatable package to farmers market vendors to candy shop retailers everywhere. The scale, available from Central Carolina Scale in Sanford, NC is constructed of ABS plastic with adjustable leveling feet and built in leveling bubble. The backlight is programmable for power saving.

The scale displays weight in kilograms, pounds and ounces. From 30 pounds to 60 pounds in a choice of resolutions to meet your needs – with NTEP CoC #11-116 Class III legal for trade approvals to suit the state inspector. This scale even shows weight and prices in ounces and kilgrams too. The PC30 has a 480 ounce capacity with readability of 0.2 oz. The PC60 scale has a 960 oz capacity and readability of 0.5 ounces. The scale operates on standard AC power or the built in rechargeable battery which has a standard operating time of approximately 70 hours without backlight or about 35 hours with backlight.

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