How to Make Money at the Farmers Market

Selling produce and vegetables at the market can be fun and rewarding. It also can be and should be profitable. We want to share the article below.

First thing is make sure you plan ahead.

No one likes to show up at the market and have to rush or somehow pay additional fees for something that used to be free. For example, are the roads still the same as last year?  Do we now have tolls to deal with?  This year, do I have to pay for extras at the market like tables, 110VAC power outlet, covered tent etc…

Determine what your costs truly are and how much money do you realistically want to make by selling your produce to visitors at the farmers market.

This can be difficult, especially when it comes to determining your costs. How much is your time worth? How many hours did you spend planting seeds, harvesting etc… How much is your time worth driving to the market, setting up your produce stand? How much is your time worth selling strawberries to consumers for four hours?

These are challenging questions and there is no right or wrong answer but if you can put a number(s) on some of these questions, it can help you truly determine if you made any money selling fruits and vegetables at the farmers market.

Next, scout your competitors locations at the market.

Is a seller four tables down selling apples for twenty five cents less than you?  Can you match that sellers price and still be profitable?

Is there a particular fruit or vegetable that seems to be really popular this year with customers?  Perhaps you can source some of those for your table or at least make notes so you can grow that for next year.

Do you have any larger expenses to consider such as buying a new digital price calculating scale?  

Or perhaps you had an existing scale repaired with new keypad, battery, and AC adapter.  Or maybe you need to invest in some type of cash register or large covered tent to protect you from the blazing July sunshine.  All of these costs need to be considered in your calculations.

rice lake rs-160 retail scale

Summarizing, no one understands your buying / selling produce at the farmers market business better than you.

You know how much work that you have put into growing or sourcing your produce. You know how much work you have put in to buying supplies and preparing each week for the market. And you know how much money you would realistically like to make each week and throughout the year. This article is just designed to make you think a little bit and perhaps help you to remember an area that you might have overlooked.

 

 

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.

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.

Product Spotlight: CAS ER Junior Retail Scale

Digital price computing scales like the CAS ER JR are designed to take all the guess work out of pricing. These general purpose computing scales for direct sale of commodities in stores such as supermarkets, delicatessens and groceries are designed for portable use with AC power and built in rechargeable battery. The ER Jr certified scale is ideal for farmers markets, sandwich shops, bakeries, candy and coffee shops, convenience stores, produce markets, hardware stores and more. The scale features a 30 pound weighing capacity.

The ER Jr legal for trade certified price computing scale exemplifies CAS Quality and will give you years of dependable service at an affordable price. The ER Junior features a 30 pound dual range NTEP approved capacity. The scale has (3) direct price look ups (PLU’s) and includes a bright liquid crystal display on the operator side for the scale operator and on the customer side for the customer to see. The display includes a vibrant blue backlight.

The ER Jr from CAS Corporation is completely portable with the built in rechargeable battery which lasts up to 200 hours (without backlight) on a single charge. A low battery indicator lets you know when it is time for a charge. The ER Jr legal for trade produce scale has a small footprint at 11.75 inches x 12.75 inches and will fit easily on counter tops, tables or any tight workspace. With best in class features and an affordable price, you can place multiple ER Jr price computing scales throughout your business to ensure customer satisfaction and maximum profitability. Additional standard features include lb/kg unit switching and three different methods to enter a tare weight: platter tare, keyboard tare, and programmable tare for a PLU. If you’re in the market for a basic retail scale that can calculate price per pound, then you may have found the perfect item for your needs. If you need a price quote or additional information please call the sales department at Central Carolina Scale at (919) 776-7737 today.

Is There Still A Hanging Produce Scale For Sale That’s Certified Legal For Trade?

We usually focus on the digital retail scales that you see at the market each week but today we wanted to look at a classic scale you’ve probably seen at a produce market. You would be surprised at how often customers ask if they can still purchase a hanging scale for weighing their produce at the farmers market. Even though we now have the super fast and relatively reliable digital scales available, many customers actually ask for the proven performer with the dial that spins around to display the weight. Sometimes it actually does make a lot of sense to choose one of these classics. If you don’t want to fool around with batteries every few weeks, then a hanging dial scale might be a good choice. If your location has an overhang or tent that is easy to attach a scale to, then this might be a good idea for you.

NTEP certified hanging produce scales

Of course, if you choose to go this route, you will want to choose a NTEP certified legal for trade hanging scale like the Chatillon series. It’s also a good idea to get a scale that has the double dial so both sides can see the dial and completely agree on the weight that is listed on the scale dial. Unfortunately, if you do choose one of these scales, you will need to bring your calculator with you to calculate the price per pound.

The Chatillon Century Series hanging scale is well known for  accuracy, dependability and reliability. The Century Series feature a glass-covered 7-inch dial that reads clockwise. A double dial option is available (one dial reads clockwise, the other counter clockwise). These scales feature a corrosion-resistant band, bezel and housing and have a rugged, steel inner frame. Scale capacities are reached in two pointer revolutions.

The Centry Series are Class lll “Legal for Trade” scales. Century Series can be supplied with a CG Series scoop or the popular CAS circular pan. The CAS Pan is constructed of stainless steel. 3-inch deep round pan has drain holes. The CG Scoop is ideal for weighing loose materials. Scoop and suspension chain of galvanized construction.

Retail, Calculating, Or Certified Scales, Which is it?

The scales that we usually talk about each month can be referred to as quite a few different names. Some folks call them retail scales while others prefer to say they are scales for computing the price per pound. Others like to say they are calculating scales or certified legal for trade. We generally just call them price computing scales.  These products work great at places like fudge shops, candy stores, frozen yogurt stores and farmers markets because the operation of the products is pretty simple.

You basically place the item on the scale, enter the price per pound that you wish to charge your customer, and the scale computes the price per pound on both the front display and the back display. This is great because both the farmer or the candy shop owner can see the price and the customer buying the apples or the cup of butter pecan frozen yogurt can see how much they owe. Speaking of yogurt we also should mention that some of the scales can compute price per ounce which is especially useful for sellers looking to charge patrons by the ounce.

We have always been a valuable and dedicated retail solutions site for customers. Our fresh food weighing systems product reviews and inside information has helped many customers make a wise decision about their retail scale needs.  We encourage you to bookmark our site, subscribe to our RSS feed and hopefully some of the information we provide can assist you in your restaurant or produce selling business.

Buy New Produce Scales Or Keep My Old Hanging Scales?

A few times a year we’ll get an email or a call from someone who will ask about digital scales. Basically they are fishing for scale knowledge to determine if it makes sense for them to scrap their old hanging scales for weighing fruits and vegetables. In many cases they really want to buy the cool new digital price computing scale like their buddies at the farmers market. They just need a little justification in order to make it “legit”. Honestly, if the used hanging scale is still working it probably has a very long lifespan and could easily last for many years. However, the real selling point with the new and “fancy” digital retail scale is the fact that many of them can calculate the price per pound. This can be a real time savings and can make your operation seem a little more professional in the eyes of your customer.  Let’s face it your customers have other options when it comes to buying fresh produce so you want to do everything you can to accommodate them and provide them with the product and service they expect. If you were to sell them some vegetables and then you take out a pencil and paper or you reach for a calculator, the customer is probably not going to be thrilled. Especially when your neighbor two tables down from you has three legal for trade digital scales up and running. His customers orders are processed quickly and efficiently.  That is why sometimes we refer to the old hanging scales as vintage produce scales because you just don’t see too many of them. Or, they seem to show up in certain regions of the country.  Some of you might be asking when exactly are produce scales used? The simple answer would be that you may use them in a buying or selling commercial situation.

We generally don’t get into the whole used produce scales for sale type promotions because we don’t have too many used ones available.  Most of the time when we get Continue reading

What is the best farmers market scale?

As the title suggests this article is going to focus on one topic. What is the best farmers market scale? This can be a tough choice since there are many good choices in the market place. Often the same brands and models rise to the top year after year.

I decided to do some research and look at past sales and how reliable certain scales have been over the past year. After doing that, the conclusion that I have come to is simple. If you are looking for a durable product that is going to last you for many years, the ideal Continue reading

Affordable Price And Brand Name Durability

Can you buy a scale for weighing produce at the farmers market that is built tough and priced reasonably? The answer is yes and take a look at the CAS ER Jr legal for trade scale which is portable and includes a rechargeable battery which lasts up to 200 hours (without backlight) on a single charge. A low battery indicator lets you know when it is time for a charge. The ER Jr certified scale has a small footprint at 11.75 inches x 12.75 inches and will fit easily on counter tops, tables or any tight workspace. With best in class features and an economical cost, you can place multiple ER Jr price computing scales throughout your business to ensure customer satisfaction and maximum profitability. Additional standard features include lb/kg unit switching and three different methods to enter a tare weight: platter tare, keyboard tare, and programmable tare for a PLU. Continue reading

Ohaus Retail Scales Offer Brand Name Quality

Designed from the ground up as a portable retail scale with a small footprint and battery power, the RA combines a bright, backlit LCD display on front and back of the housing with a 7.9 X 11.4 inch stainless steel pan. The RA can be powered by 6 “D” cell batteries for up to 60 hours continuous use, or using the included AC powerpack. To conserve power the RA has a battery-saving low-power sleep feature. NTEP 3,000d certified, the RA offers 2 models in either 15 or 30 lb capacities. Great for use in farmer’s markets, delis, bakeries and other retail locations where space is a premium.

For use with larger packages or for use in delis, grocery and convenience stores, the OHAUS RE price computing scale features a large 9.5 x 13.5 inch weighing pan made from thick stainless steel to stand-up to years of use. Available in both a regular form factor as well as with a 16.7 inch tall column for the display, the RE line quickly displays weights on its large backlit LED display. All RE models can be powered by 6 “D” cell batteries for up to 60 hours continuous use with a easily visible battery status indicator, or using the included AC powerpack. To conserve power the RA has a battery-saving low-power sleep feature.  The RE is available in two 30 lb models – one with the column – as well as a 60 lb model without column. The Prepack Pricing mode is a key feature for stores who price-out larger runs of items, especially for smaller stores and delis.