Farmer Marketing

Simple, inventive ways to increase the value of farm fresh products through direct marketing, internet marketing, and creativity.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Lessons from an Idaho Farmers' Market

In my fifteen years of working with a small Idaho farmers' market I have observed many ways of presenting fruits, veggies, crafts, and a lot more. For this entry I want talk about the general appearance of the booth/display.


The general appearance of your booth/display is critical to get customers to stop & look, decide, and purchase. For this post I will talk about how the appearance of your booth will get people to stop & look.


You have to keep in mind the brand image you are trying to convey. If you want people to view you as a local organic produce grower, you don't want your displays to look like the supermarket. As a local grower, you want people to associate with you. Use a rustic style table cloth that reminds people of how things were when they were a kid. Be friendly and talkative. Everything you do, say, and display is an extension of your brand.

Let me give you an example from the Idaho farmers' market that I have seen. The display is beside a large refrigerated truck and all the fruit is set out in a display for individual sale as well as bushel boxes stacked for sale. All the produce is perfectly cleaned and looks great. Obviously this operation wants to be seen as a big grower that delivers store quantity straight to you. In contrast, there is the two young kids standing by a card table with zucchini, squash, and a few tomatoes. Who sold more? Of course the big operation did, but these kids weren't trying to compete with that. They successfully portrayed an image of a backyard garden that grew a little too much.


Let me boil this down. Don't worry if your produce isn't perfectly shaped and cleaned. If your branding is as a local grower, those very imperfections can act as your seal of authenticity. I have rarely heard a complaint about a funny shaped cucumber or a dirty potato from farmers' market customers (especially not in Idaho). If you want a high-end brand image, work on professional displays and shine up that produce, but remember to be consistent. Again, everything you do, say, and display is an extension of your brand.