[Market-farming] enforcing market hours

Errol Castens castens at nepower.coop
Sat Aug 2 13:36:56 EDT 2008

We have a bit of a controversy among our farmers' market board and vendors:

Our stated hours on Saturday are 7 to 11 a.m. We used to ask vendors to
enforce that rule so that everybody could have time to set up and be ready
when the bell rang. There were a few customers who had to be at work at 7,
so we decided to let vendors to sell to anyone they knew couldn't stick
around longer. Predictably, one set of customers saw a few people being
allowed to buy, and pretty soon they were piling in early, too. We
eventually decided the customer is always right and so we should allow
early sales for all.

Problem is, some vendors are getting swarmed as they're still setting up,
and we've had some longtime customers who got there precisely at 7 a.m.
and headed straight to their favorite vendors only to find some specialty
already sold out.

We meet in a parking lot, with vendors enclosing two sides and one end
with their vehicles and canopies. There's no actual barrier, though.

Any ideas for how we could make everyone a little closer to happy?

errol castens
Oxford, Mississippi

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