Farmers Markets: What you Need to Know
If you are considering joining a farmers market check out this month's blog post.
Farmers markets have seen a recent surge in popularity across the country. These are a great avenue for beginning farmers to develop relationships with new customers and bring attention to their products. By selling directly to consumers, there’s more money to be made per unit and, unlike grocery stores and supermarkets, there’s more flexibility in the volume and packaging of products sold. Although entrance to these markets can be easier than retail outlets, the volume of sales can vary with the popularity of the market and will likely be lower than selling through larger retail chains. With this avenue, farmers must handle both production and sales, so the additional time and labor required to prepare, transport, and sell the berries should be considered.
Farmers and consumers benefit in multiple ways when selling through farmers markets. These benefits include consumer access to locally grown produce, personal interaction between the producers and consumers, promotion of nutrition education, and local economic boosts (UAEX, ND).
There are guidelines supplied by the Arkansas Department of Health and Arkansas Agriculture Department to be used by farmers and consumers when exploring the option of farmers markets. These guidelines share what is and is not permitted to be sold at a farmers’ market along with how the items must be sold. The full guide can be accessed at http://www.healthy.arkansas.gov/programsServices/environmentalHealth/foodProtection/Documents/FarmersMarketGuidelines.pdf.
Blackberries sold at farmers markets in Northwest Arkansas are generally priced between $4 and $6 per pound. Data collected from farmers markets in Kentucky show blackberries being sold by the pint at a price of $2.50 to $8.00 and by the quart for $3.50 to $8.00 (UK CCD, 2017).
For a complete list of Arkansas farmers’ markets, please visit https://www.ams.usda.gov/local-food-directories/farmersmarkets.
University of Arkansas System Cooperative Extension Service .(UAEX). ND. Arkansas’ Farmers Markets. https://www.uaex.eduhttps://www.uaex.edu/farm-ranch/economics-marketing/direct-marketing/arkansas-market-maker.aspx