[Market-farming] Winter Markets

Road's End Farm organic87 at frontiernet.net
Mon Oct 11 19:45:54 EDT 2010

On Oct 11, 2010, at 2:13 PM, Jay Sleichter wrote:

> Last week several vendors were kicking around the idea of having a  
> "Winter" market the weekend before Thanksgiving and then again maybe  
> before Christmas.  Does anyone have a market at these times.  Our  
> market season ends on October 30th,  the November one would be 3  
> weeks later.  We would have produce out of high tunnels, jams and  
> jellies, baked goods, cheeses, pork, eggs, Buffalo, hand made rugs  
> and much more.  I know we could open it up to local craft people and  
> get more vendors, but would that be a good idea?
> If we do it, we are wanting to promote it for the next 5 weeks with  
> hopes that it will be successful. Does anyone have any tips about a  
> winter market. We will have it inside as the weather is too crazy in  
> Kansas.

One of the markets I go to has been doing one indoor market in  
November for the past several years. We don't get the sales we do at  
the summer markets, but we do get enough to make it worth going, and  
the sales have been increasing gradually as, I think, more customers  
get used to the idea.

Our regular market is outside, and the season for that market ends in  
mid-October, the 16th this year. We do have craft vendors as part of  
the market ordinarily, as well as at the November market -- everything  
must be made (or grown, for farm vendors) in this or immediately  
adjacent counties, and most of it by the vendor, so this doesn't risk  
our turning into a flea market. The November market is made up of  
those regular vendors who have enough and want to come in November.

I think the main trick is getting your customers to remember that  
there is a market that day -- publicity, posters handed out at the  
last couple of regular markets "to hang on your refrigerator", etc.

Make sure your indoor location allows for easy loading and unloading  
of bulky items -- the first year we had ours in a basement location;  
it was actually quite a nice room, but the only access was by stairs  
or an elevator, and the elevator turned out to be very small and  
limited in the weight it could handle. A number of vendors trying to  
set up at once, some of us with mulitple cases of heavy winter squash,  
created quite a hassle. The next year we found a place where we could  
set up at ground level, though a hand truck is still really useful to  
get things in and out. At both places we could use the tables already  
there, which helped a good deal.

-- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 5 mostly
Fresh-market organic produce, small scale

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