[Market-farming] other food marketing methods - pricing

Road's End Farm organic87 at frontiernet.net
Fri May 4 10:58:19 EDT 2012

It may be state by state -- legal in some states and not others. Or it  
may depend on exactly how it's phrased. Or it may be illegal in  
general, but sometimes done anyway, the enforcement people being  
assumed to be busy dealing with (or busy not dealing with) bigger game  
than farmers' markets. I've heard all three explanations and am not  
sure which is correct.

I have never sold at a market that enforced minimum prices. I've  
certainly heard official advice that it's illegal, though I can't  
remember for sure but it may have come from NYState advisors so I  
suppose might be a state by state issue; and sometimes talking to  
multiple state representatives will get you different answers, and I'm  
not sure if this is one of those issues. I have sold at markets using  
statements such as "price should be fair to the customers and to other  
vendors", which I expect is legal but may be in practice  
unenforceable, but does give the manager something to use to go along  
with education efforts.

Education strikes me as making better sense than a flat floor in any  
case. It's really hard to determine actual cost of production for any  
one item from any one farm, let alone for all the items from all the  
farms at the market, in order to tell where a flat floor would belong.

Pricing can certainly be a major issue, especially with new growers or  
"hobby" growers, who may not value their own time, labor of their  
family members, proportions of their land taxes, etc. and/or may have  
no idea of common prices in the area. There's also sometimes the  
occasional long-term grower (often with other income) who first set  
their prices ten or twenty years ago and hasn't raised them since to  
account for general inflation.

-- Rivka; Finger Lakes NY, Zone 6A now I think
Fresh-market organic produce, small scale

On May 4, 2012, at 10:12 AM, KAKerby at aol.com wrote:

> Good to know.  Thanks, Rivka.  I was actually a little surprised  
> when I was told, on my first day at market, that I had to raise my  
> prices on this-n-that because the market manager didn't want me to  
> undersell another vendor.  Given that it was my first day, there was  
> quite a learning curve involved and I got the impression that was  
> standard practice.  I'd be curious to know if that was something  
> really unusual, or if others have had that experience (or one like  
> it).  I can definitely remove the text, or at least modify it so  
> that it better reflects national conditions.
> Kathryn Kerby
> frogchorusfarm.com
> Snohomish, WA
> Ruminations- essays on the farming life at frogchorusfarm.com/ 
> weblog.html
> In a message dated 5/4/2012 7:04:57 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,  
> organic87 writes:
> Kathryn, I'd delete that line. In many areas setting minimum prices  
> is illegal.

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