From the dirt to our plate; the trials and realities of first-time farm ownership

Farmer’s Market & Future Online Offerings

Finding success selling produce at the local farm market takes a lot of work, great marketing and a bit of luck. This garden season was off to a pretty rocky start with high winds, hail and torrential downpours. At one point I became so discouraged with all the damages, I thought for sure there was no hope.

The great thing I needed to be reminded of was the fact that Mother Nature is resilient – she always comes back stronger than you expect. Now that the gardens and greenhouse are showing signs of being harvestable, my work is just beginning!

I had planned on participating in a few local Farmer’s Markets this year but I’m changing my tune and I’ll tell you why. Some markets have numerous vendors, selling many of the same goods. While competition can be handy, it can also hinder the amount of sales you make. Not only do you need to take into account the pricing structures within that group, you need to realize the likelihood of whether or not the volume of shoppers will support each vendor selling out.

For this reason, I choose to sell at a smaller market or locally online. If I am one of two vendors or at times the only vendor, I can set my rates according to demand without worrying about undercutting another vendor’s pricing. I like to sell fast and cheap. My goal every market day is to sell out. Who wants to lug produce to market only to lug it all back home afterwards?!

In fact, my pricing guidelines are two fold. I follow a 2016 state collected Farmer’s Market pricing structure based on the high/low prices for July, August and September. Most of my produce sells for less than the going rates collected back in 2016! Additionally, I like to sell in easy to calculate dollar amounts and in pre-set or packaged amounts.

I like to be generous with my customers. At times I’ll offer free items or bundled/basket deals. The flexibility on my part creates value which will in turn create return customers! For those who show interest in what I offer, I have business cards with contact information and my website address.

The incentive to visit my website or follow my Facebook group can pay off. Many times I will list excess produce for cut rate prices. If I have another 5 days to go before market, I may create awesome baskets of mixed fruits/veggies available for purchase – sometimes with delivery! Offering the freshest produce is one of my top priorities.

Here’s what we are offering this summer and fall 2018!

  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Sweet Corn
  • Green Beans
  • Okra
  • Red/Yellow/Orange Peppers
  • Green Peppers
  • Jalapeños
  • Leeks
  • Onions
  • Honeydew Melon
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Zucchini
  • Yellow Summer Squash
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Butternut Squash
  • Pumpkins
  • Red/Russet Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Apples
  • Assorted Herbs Upon Request
  • Farm Fresh Eggs

And a few other surprises along the way!

Drake, ND Farmer’s Market, Wednesdays 5-7pm

You can find Dirt On My Plate on Facebook to follow along with our 25 Acre blog. To join our produce group on Facebook, search for 25 Acres – Locally Grown Fresh Produce. The group will have posts for mixed fruit/veggie baskets as well as any odds and ends available between local Farmer’s Market dates.

Once the Farm Markets close, we usually have plenty more late maturing produce needing to find a home! You don’t want to miss out on those melons! #LifeOn25Acres

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