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My Farmer's Market Thing


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#1 GG Mora

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 03:24 PM

Regular readers-along will know that I took a stall at our local farmer's market for the season, for to hawk my goodies to the public. Saturday was the first installment, and it was a success beyond my wildest expectations. I thought I had enough inventory to last me for at least a month (with additions of rhubarb and then strawberry jam as readiness permits). Instead, I'll be making a run to Costco today to stock up on supplies, and I'll spend the rest of the week cranking out product to stockpile for when my real job heats up again (July 1).

Granted, it was Memorial Day weekend, so it was extra busy and there were plenty of out-of-towners, but at least 60% of sales were to local folk. I know it will be slower for a few weeks, until schools let out and families with kids are in residence for the summer, or more apt to travel for weekends.

(This is my third go-round with this market. 10 years ago, when the market was in its second year, I took a stall selling cut flowers, which I grew in my garden. I did that for two years. Wasn't terribly successful, and I'm not quite sure why. I think it would do better now that the market has grown. I did the flowers for two years; the second year I overlapped with a second stall, selling Thai and Viet food along with the chef I was working with at the time. That was a huge success, and we kept it up for two years until he moved on to DC and I got out of the restaurant business.)

The items I had on hand this week were:

Mango Chutney
Mango Butter
Banana Jam
Meyer Lemon Marmalade
Dulce de Leche
Pomegranate Jelly
Artichoke Tapenade

The preserves were all priced at $10 a jar; the Tapenade was $6 for an 8-oz container. I also had about a dozen jars of stuff from last year; I priced them at $5 each and sold them all. Big sellers were the Tapenade (8 containers, sold out), the Chutney, Mango Butter, Marmalade and Dulce de Leche (± 5 jars each). I laid out samples of the Tapenade, which was a great draw. Once that was gone (about 1/2 an hour before the market ended), it was hard to attract anyone who wasn't specifically interested in jams and jellies. I also offered small samples of some of the preserves; I bought a box of flat wooden taster spoons just for this purpose. I'd say 90% of those that tasted ended up buying.

Okay, thanks for indulging my rambling and boasting (I'm still a little bit in shock at my success). Now some pixtures:

My set-up:
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Display rack:
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Close-up of labels:
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Tapenade:
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A few shots of the rest of the market:
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Thanks to all for your support and good wishes.
_______________
Note to the person who PM'd me a kind query about the market: I tried to reply, but apparently you have me blocked. :(

#2 bloviatrix

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 03:38 PM

I'm so glad your first day was such a raving success. Everything looks gorgeous. What's the text at the bottom of the labels?
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#3 GG Mora

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 03:40 PM

I'm so glad your first day was such a raving success. Everything looks gorgeous. What's the text at the bottom of the labels?

Ingredients. And I have a small label on the back of each jar with the “business name” and address.

#4 rancho_gordo

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 03:48 PM

I'm so proud of you! It looks great and your branding is super. I always say, they aren't just buying jams. They're buying the experience of buying jams and you've made an "experience" out of it. But I think you're wrong that things will slow down. It's the start of summer! Especially as more tourists come and they want to buy something local to take back.

Next is the website, mail orders, distribution and before you know it, you'll be defending Wal-Mart business practices ("They aren't so bad, you know. And I LOVE the opportunity to produce my Vermont products in China!")

But really, congrats! It looks great.

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#5 Behemoth

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 03:56 PM

If your stuff tastes half as good as it looks you will probably have lots of repeat business. :(
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#6 lovelynugget

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 04:04 PM

Honestly, it's difficult to doubt your success when your display is so beautiful. That's half the battle, isn't it?

The labels are lovely; did you do them yourself? They scream "GOURMET" and "YOU'RE NOT JUST BUYING JAM, YOU'RE BUYING GOOD TASTE!"

Seriously, though, those look like large jars. You may want to raise your prices. $10 sounds like a steal.

#7 Rail Paul

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 04:35 PM

That's very impressive. Congratulations on your success.

You might consider developing an e-mailing list. That would alert regular shoppers to new offerings, and allow you to move some stock after the regular market season ends. Several of our NJ farmers use that as a means to move Thansksgiving and Christmas, etc specials after the markets close.
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#8 Cathy

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 05:14 PM

GG, I'm thrilled for you!! The packaging is gorgeous, and (says I to someone I've never met in person :() very YOU.

Do you take mail orders?
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#9 tanabutler

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 08:42 PM

Note to the person who PM'd me a kind query about the market: I tried to reply, but apparently you have me blocked. :(

Okay, I unblocked you. Get typing! :(

No, seriously, it looks fantastic. Utterly fantastic. The labels are so beautiful—is that a Woodtype Ornament on the tapenade? The colors—everything—first class.

Get rich, dawl, and come visit. Screw Mongo's garden. :(

#10 GG Mora

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 09:16 PM

Next is the website, mail orders, distribution...

Now, see, there's my dilemma. This is what I love, love to do, but I can't imagine ever matching the income I get from my “real” work, which is just as rewarding in very different ways. That's why the dip-your-toe-in-it aspect of the farmer's market is so appealing.

Seriously, though, those look like large jars. You may want to raise your prices. $10 sounds like a steal.

9 oz. jars. I've researched quite a lot over the last year or so, and $10 seems right in line for what I'm selling.

You might consider developing an e-mailing list. That would alert regular shoppers to new offerings, and allow you to move some stock after the regular market season ends.

That's a great idea, Paul.

Do you take mail orders?

Most certainly. Anyone who's interested should PM me.

The labels are so beautiful—is that a Woodtype Ornament on the tapenade? The colors—everything—first class.

Coming from another designer, that's quite a compliment. Yes, that is a Woodtype Ornament. It's on all the labels, in a slightly lighter or darker shade than the background. I'll try and JPEG a few of the labels for posting. Working up the colors for the labels is almost the funnest part.

How about this for a tag line: I don't think you're ready for this jelly. :(

#11 SethG

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 09:36 PM

looks great, GG. I'm envious. Not of your business, but of your pretty jars. And of the fact that you have a yard in which you can concentrate those preserves in the sun. Looks like a smashing success. Keep up the good work!
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#12 tanabutler

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 09:46 PM

I bet you wind up in Gourmet magazine or the New York Times. And we'll have to start calling you "Georgianne," and you'll be fucking insufferable.

:(

#13 GG Mora

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 09:51 PM

I'm already fucking insufferable.

#14 mongo_jones

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 09:52 PM

gg, that does look great and i bet it all tastes even better. but i'm not paying no $10 for mango butter i was supposed to get for free, no sir. if you really want to get into the fancy magazines, however, you'll need to come up to colorado and turn the arid wasteland that is our future backyard into a fragrant orchard of goodness.

and cathy, not meeting gg is the best way to know her. trust me. in person she has a braying laugh and punctuates every sentence with two or three ass-slaps (her own and that of whoever is closest to her).

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#15 Rail Paul

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Posted 29 May 2006 - 10:09 PM

however, you'll need to come up to colorado and turn the arid wasteland that is our future backyard into a fragrant orchard of goodness.


Maybe I've been misinformed, but I thought your area of Colorado is awash in elk herds, and prairie dogs. Feasting on the agricultural bounty.

Not true?
“It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to manage than a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely lukewarm defenders in those who gain by the new ones. ”
Niccolò Machiavelli