Selling your crops successfully starts with making sure your products are fresh and healthy. No matter where you sell, customers want high quality. Next, think about what is important to you about selling your crops. Do you want to sell them fast?
Do you want to meet and talk to your customers, and can you give them excellent service? Do you want your customers to pick their own vegetables? The answers to these questions will help you decide which market best fits for you.
If you have a big farm or live far away from customers, you might want to sell your crops to one place, such as a store, restaurant, and food co-op. This is wholesale marketing.
Selling your crops this way is faster than other ways. It is also a good choice if you are not comfortable meeting and talking to a lot of people. Wholesale marketing will probably not make you as much money as selling directly to the customer, and you may not get paid right away. But it is a simple, easy way of selling.
On the other hand, if you do not have a big farm or if you are a new farmer, it is a good idea to sell your crops directly to customers what is called direct or retail marketing. Although you can make more money and get paid faster this way, you will need more time to sell. It is a good way to sell your crops if you are a good planner, have time, and enjoy meeting and talking to people.
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Farmers’ market is another place where many people visit. Here, you can sell a lot of vegetables, so you need to bring enough vegetables to last the day. You have to plan carefully. If you want to sell your vegetables at a farmers’ market, look for a market that is: in a busy area, is well known, clean and well managed.
While at the market, make the area around your booth attractive.
Customers like a large display to choose from. Put as many of your vegetables out as you can while still keeping them fresh in shade. Tilt every item to give your customer a better view and make your supply look larger. But be careful to place the vegetables so that they don’t fall over when a customer takes some.
Put your crops up on shelves, not on the ground. Put each of your crop in a group to make large blocks of colour. Yellow vegetables, especially, catch the customer’s eye. Make signs for all your crops with each name and price. Customers also like to read information about your farm. If you would like, hand out recipes on how to use the vegetables you are selling.
People like to stop at roadside stands to buy fresh vegetables. Roadside stands can be close to your home or garden. You can sell your crops without traveling far, and you can make money selling only one or two crops. For instance, fresh-picked sweet corn, tomatoes, and pumpkins sell well.
Customers who stop at roadside stands like to see colourful plants, gardens, animals, even clean gardening tools. They also like to see your crops growing. If your stand is near your garden, make sure your garden is in good condition.
If you want to sell your crops at a roadside stand: Find a place close to a town or city, where people would not have to drive more than 10 miles to reach you. Find a place where a lot of cars and people go by. The cars should be going slow enough to be able to stop. A place next to a stoplight or stop sign is a good place. Ask customers what they think about your stand. You can learn a lot about what they want. This will help you plan for next year.
Pick your own or you-pick
Some customers like going into fields and picking their own vegetables. This is sometimes known as a You-Pick or “U-Pick” field. The best customers for you-pick field need a lot of vegetables for canning or freezing.
If you are near people who can or freeze vegetables, selling this way may be a good choice. Selling your crops this way can save you work, but could also hurt your crop if your customers don’t know how to pick. Take time to show people how to handle your crops. Before you plant your first seed, answer this question: How will you sell your crops? A good marketing plan is an absolute must for a successful farm business. Know your market and your customers. Start by growing vegetables that are popular with people in your area. Make sure you grow enough of each crop, and make the quality of your vegetables good. Then consider the best way to sell them to your customers.
The writer is an expert on sustainable agriculture and agricultural solutions
For more info you can reach him on [email protected]