Market dumpers attn; PHIL

Ed Clifford hmdrawrod at citlink.net
Mon May 13 17:43:17 EDT 2002


Wow glad you don't gossip, or that "Clown" would be in for some ear ringing. I don't think there should be restrictions on price either. One thing a market does have to watch though is someone who doesn't make a commitment to market, (i.e. 3 weeks out of season). If someone comes in and collapses price on commodity with a flood of produce that was produced elsewhere, customers, (some), will expect that price. Also the idea of a farmers market was to have actual farmers at the market, not wholesalers. Usually if product is in abundant supply the price will drop from market forces in the market and outside the market. In a warm summer around here cucumber and tomato prices drop in late July/early August to levels that make it tempting to feed them to hogs. The key is to get an early or late crop, that's what makes you a professional grower. Use your imagination and skill to bring something to market that that "Clown" will have a tough time matching. Try to bring a few Gourmet shops and restaurants into your plan. 
   Originally I thought my revenue would be from farmer's market, I was wrong. The farmer's market gave me a location to showcase my product. They advertised, they had a reputation, and a well known location. That brought customers to me, from there I cultivated relationships that have proved lucrative. I will always "do" farmer's markets, that is most of my advertising. I call it advertising because I really don't get a great return on the time I invest. If I pay for my spot, gas, tolls, and help, I'm happy. I never undercut, I really don't want to make enemies. That said I am in a position to "screw someone to the wall" if I had to, as it is not where I get most of my revenue and I'd be willing to take a loss to prove a point. 
   The point of talking first to the perceived offender is good advice. Sometimes it's naivety regarding pricing. Market manager or a group of leaders should approach in a business-like manner, not threatening, and discuss. It's really not price fixing. Some people and not necessarily "New" farmers are willing to pay themselves far below minimum wage to farm. When people learn that they are worth $15 hr. minimum for labor that goes into producing crop they will usually agree. Most should aim far higher.
                         Ed Clifford
                    Shale Rock Farm
   
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