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Toledo Farmers Market

May 16, 2014
By Dawn Troutner , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

The second market of the season brought Kristi, Devin, Ginger, Dale, Dawn, Sheryl, Shirley, Freddie and Michael, Karen, Nina, and the Lester's to the Toledo Farmers' Market. The tables are filling out nicely. The only produce that showed up was rhubarb and asparagus. Other items available were breads, pies, cookies, Czech Bakery, granola, puppy chow, honey, houseplants, dried pepper powder and assorted herbs, popcorn, eggs, ceramics, and candles. Be sure to make your Friday night stop to the Toledo Farmers' Market and see what I missed.

This week was the annual Mother's Day flower planting. I don't know how long I have been doing this. The weekend before Mother's Day I plant flowers with the kids that come to market for their Mothers'. This doesn't cost the kids anything. This year I planted 27 individual flowers with the kids. We always have fun doing this. Some like to get their hands dirty and some don't, but in the end it is always great to see the smiling faces hold their flowers or hand them to their Mothers. I hope everyone had a Great Mothers Day.

Are you thinking about becoming a vendor at a local farmers market? According to there are 8 tips for beginner farmers' market vendors. Those eight are: do market research, learn farmers' market rules, start small, identify your niche, design your stand, get organized, be personally prepared, and build relationships.

Article Photos

Karsen Raue age 2 with his Dad Curt Raue and the flower he planted for Mother’s Day.

I sell at three markets and each market is so different. They are set up differently, have a different vibe to them, have a faster pace or slower pace, and have different individuals.

Every successful market needs rules. Some vendors and customers follow them and some don't. But a market manager needs to have a good relationship with their vendors to make the market run smooth and within the guidelines of the rules. I have a real good bunch of vendors at the Toledo Farmers' Market. And the customers aren't so bad either.

I receive many emails or phone calls from individuals wanting to start selling at a farmers' market. I always tell them start small and see what works for you. I have seen some jump into it running and never slowing down, but that doesn't always work for everyone. Start slow and start small.

Finding your niche isn't as hard as some think it is. When you think of farmers' market you think of vegetables. Think outside the box and try different things until you find that niche that works for you. Have recipes to hand out with certain vegetables, educate customers on the use of fresh herbs.

Set your stand up to fit your needs. But always to make it easy for the customer to find that certain vegetable they are looking for. Have a good looking table that is customer friendly. If you use signs make sure they are easy to read.

Organization is a key thing to be a successful vendor. Myself, the biggest organization task I have is the way I load and unload the vehicle. So don't be offended when I refuse help. Most vendors do.

We all have bad days, but put on that cheerful face when selling at the market. It takes fewer muscles to smile than to frown.

And always build relationships with your customers. I believe this is one of the reasons we have such a successful Toledo Farmers' market, every vendor works on building that special relationship with their customers and their fellow vendor.

Be sure to visit the Toledo Farmers' Market on Friday nights from 5-7 on the east side of the Courthouse square. And thank your vendor for all their hard work. See you at market.



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