Market · Not Farming Related · Product Review · Tutorial

Being Farmers Market Vendors: How We Set Up

Lately, we have had seen several people asking about setting up at farmers markets, and what sorts of tents/tables/signage work the best. We are in our third year of vending at our local market, but I have been doing handmade markets for over a decade. I have seen many different setups that work, and many more that just… do not… We are going to share some of what we have for our market setup, and why we’ve chosen them. What works for us may not work for you. Consider this a jumping off point for your market booth.

We forgot our tablecloths this day. They were in the washer. This is why we suggest having two sets of tablecloths!

The most important item, for us anyway, is a really good, sturdy tent. We used to have a cheap canopy from Kmart, but we upgraded this year to a 10 x 10 Eurmax brand tent. It’s heavier, but it’s way sturdier, and looks much more professional. It’s available in a bunch of different colors. However, the downside to this is that the sun filtering through is tinted the color of the tent, and can make some of your products look weird and unappealing. You can purchase the tents that come with the side walls, or buy them afterwards. We bought one when we realized the sun was roasting our veggies while still on the table! The only thing we don’t use from this pack are the leg weights. They are heavy! You absolutely need tent weights though. Our “cheat”? Five gallon buckets filled with water! They come to the market empty, and weight next to nothing. We fill them with water at the market, and use a bungee cord to attach them to the top of the tent.

The next most important item are tables. We buy ours on sale from Menards, Home Depot, or wherever we find them. We like to buy them in person so we can see how heavy they are. Folding tables are easiest for us, but standard tables might work for you. They get set up in a T or L shape, depending on where our booth is located, and how much stock we have. Most customers don’t want to enter your tent, so having the tables at the front of the booth is ideal. However, if it’s really hot and sunny out, they will often appreciate the extra shade. Make sure your tables are sturdy, the same height, and able to support the weight you will put on them.

The tables will look best if covered. We ordered some inexpensive grey tablecloths off Amazon that look great against our products. Again, you can get something more colorful, but keep in mind that the sunlight might make your products look a little weird. I would personally stay away from white, black, or anything patterned. You want your products to be the focus, and you don’t want them sitting on a table that will look filthy (white cloths) or absorb all the heat and cook everything (black). This seller has a ton of different table cloth options, in different colors and sizes. They are easy to wash, and we hang them to dry. They are polyester, so they dry really fast. We definitely suggest having at least one spare table cloth, or even an extra set. We seem to forget them at home a couple times a season, and having a backup set in your bin of market supplies can be a lifesaver!

Our market banner is from Staples. We used their online design option, and picked it up in store a couple days later. This is something we have been complimented on more times than I can count. We are planning on getting another one made that is a little more colorful, but this one was made in a rush, and we didn’t have time to find the photos we needed. The good thing is, it’s inexpensive enough to just have a handful of them for different markets. We have it attached to the tent frame with bungee cords. We can never have enough bungees on the farm, and both of our vehicles have a handful stored in them at all times. You never know when you need to hold something in place!

We also decided to splurge on a chalkboard sign. It isn’t super expensive, but it’s definitely a nice bonus item that has helped us out a lot. I spent an afternoon putting our social media links on one side of it, and we have the other side as our actual advertising side. At some point, we are going to have someone redo the permanent side, and seal it with clear coat. We also suggest using chalk markers instead of actual chalk. It is easier to read, easier to clean off, less likely to be smudged by people or in transit, and just generally cleaner. The pack we got has colors that are easy to read when it’s bright out, or not so bright.

The rest of our set up changes depending on what we have for sale. We have a couple coolers with ice packs for our frozen meat. We will be upgrading to actual freezers in the near future. We also have a cooler for our eggs, with ice packs. For this one, we made sure that egg cartons would fit in without too much wiggle room. This keeps the eggs secure while driving to the market. We have brought egg cartons into stores to test fit. It looks silly, but the peace of mind knowing they won’t slide around and smash everything is totally worth it.

We have picked up a few wooden crates, canning jars, as well as pots and pans to hold produce on the table. We like to have enough where it looks like a full display, but it isn’t so full it’s going to topple over. Many types of greens do best when kept in water, so we do that as needed.

For our own comfort, we usually bring a chair, and squishy stress relief mats to stand on. This, along with comfortable shoes, makes the market day much more bearable. We are also sure to stay hydrated with water, and try to eat something somewhat healthy. It’s easy to fill up on pastries from the other vendors, but we try to also have some fruit or veg, and protein.

Finally, one of the most important things: SIGNAGE! We have laminated some cards with our farm logo, and we use a dry erase marker to put the prices and item name on them. This looks neat and tidy, and makes it easier for people to see what the prices are and not have to ask us. We either weight them down with the items we are selling, or tape them to the table/cooler.

In addition to all these big things, we have a couple bins with market supplies. Some of the supplies include:

  • Locking cash box filled with small bills and quarters
  • Our Square readers
  • A box of business cards
  • Bungee cords
  • Produce bags
  • Shopping bags (we reuse the ones from the grocery store)
  • Pens
  • Markers
  • Scissors or a knife
  • Duct tape
  • Roll of paper towels
  • A rag
  • Snacks
  • A bottle of water

This is just a little peek into what we bring to the market every week. This changes slightly depending on weather, which market we are vending at, and if we remember to pack everything. We keep everything stored in one spot in the barn, so it’s easy to go out and grab all of it early in the morning before market days. Look at this post as more of guidelines rather than instructions to follow. What you bring to the market will be different depending on what you sell, but this seems like a good spot to start. We hope you find this helpful, and we wish you success at your markets!

Frontière Farm House is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to products on Amazon. If you click a link in this post, we may earn a small commission. This does not cost you anything, and helps us cover the costs associated with farming.

Chickens · Collaboration · Green Gardens Community Farm · Market · Meat

Check Out Your Chicken!

This spring has been a wet one. Our garden is delayed, and we are scrapping some of our plans altogether, unfortunately. We are hoping for some not-so-wet weather in the coming month so that our fall crops will do well. Cross your fingers for us!

The wet weather thankfully hasn’t affected our meat production. Our first batch of chickens is going to the processor on June 27. They are Red Bro Color Yield Broilers, from The Chick Hatchery. We really enjoy how they look, and they are doing really well on pasture.

First batch of Frontière Farm House chickens going to the processor in 2019

We will have them fresh, never frozen at the Marshall Farmers Market on June 29. They will be ready for the grill that afternoon! Any birds that are not sold that day will go into the freezer.

A few days later, we are having a special event at Green Gardens Community Farm. July 1, which is Canada Day, those fine folks will be hosting Check Out Your Chicken. We will be preparing some chickens so you can taste them before purchasing. They will be available as whole birds for $4.50/lb. We will not be offering cut ups for this first batch, but we might in the future.

If you have any questions about these birds, our process for raising them, or anything else, feel free to contact us!

CSA · Eggs · flowers · Market · Meat · Production · Vegetables

Introducing: The Frontière Farm House CSA

Over the last few years, we have seen more and more local farmers offer CSA shares for their customers, and we have decided that this year, Frontière Farm House will join in!! Here is some information on how it works.

What is a CSA?
CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture.” Farming is an expensive endeavor that requires a lot of upfront investment, and the returns take a while to show. Having a CSA means that farmers can get an influx of capital up-front, and customers usually get a discount for making that investment early on.

What makes our CSA different?
We are asking for a purchase of a CSA membership upfront in a set amount of $100, $250 or $500. This will get you what is essentially a Frontière Farm House gift card loaded with that amount that you can use at any of our markets. There is no expiration date on the card, and it can be topped up whenever is convenient for you, in those same amounts. You can spend as much or as little as you want, when you want. You do not need to pick up weekly, and you get to choose exactly what you receive.

What do you get with the membership?
With this purchase, we are offering a bonus on loading and reloading the card. If you make the initial purchase before April 30, 2019, the bonus will be as follows:
$100 purchase gets you: $115 (an extra 15%)
$250 purchase gets you: $292.50 (an extra 17%)
$500 purchase gets you: $600 (an extra 20%)
After April 30, 2019, including any reloads, the bonus will be as follows:
$100 purchase gets you: $110 (an extra 10%)
$250 purchase gets you: $280 (an extra 12%)
$500 purchase gets you: $575 (an extra 15%)
This bonus amount will remain the same for all of 2019. We may change the bonus percentage in the future.

What can you get with the CSA?
In short, anything we sell! This year, we plan on offering: Chicken, duck, and goose eggs; and chicken, duck, goose, and turkey meat. In addition, we will have a wide variety of vegetables, herbs, and cut flowers; our delicious spice blends and infused salts; and a selection of Nicole’s hand knit and handmade items (at most markets). We will send out an email and/or a Facebook update with what will be available at the market weekly. If something is only available in a limited quantity, we will let you know ahead of time, and offer the option to reserve a small number

What can you not get with the CSA?
The only things that the CSA cannot be spent on are wholesale orders, and our Egg CSA. Basically, you cannot “double dip” the discounts.

If you are ready to jump on board, contact us here!

Market

Introducing the Market Bag Discount Program

After a long, cold, never-ending winter, the outdoor edition of the Marshall Farmers Market starts up this Saturday, and we are so excited! It runs from 8:00 am until 1:00 pm every week until the end of October. We have something new to share with all of you, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed preparing for it.

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We are happy to introduce the Frontière Farm House Market Bag Discount Program! It gets a little confusing here, but we promise to do the hard work for you. This is what you need to know. The bags cost $15. Yes, we do understand this is a little high for a market bag, but it gets you a whole lot more than just a fancy place to carry your purchases. It gets you a discount on just about everything we sell! Here is how the discounts will break down:

  • Eggs are 25 cents off per dozen (no discount on half dozens)
  • Meat is 25 cents off per pound
  • Fruit and vegetables are 10% off purchases of $10 or more
  • Spice mixes will be three for $9 (usually 3/$10)
  • Knitted items are 10% off
  • Other discounts will be added as we add to our repertoire

Here are the rules you need to know:

  • These discounts may change in the future, but we will be sure to notify you beforehand.
  • The market bag discount cannot be combined with our Egg CSA.
  • You must have the bag with you in order to get the discount.
  • It’s likely we will round pricing up or down so we don’t have to deal with anything smaller than a quarter.
  • If we are sharing a booth space with another vendor, the discount only applies to the items we sell.

These bags were printed by our friend Don, who also printed our aprons. He did an amazing job on both, and we would definitely recommend him if you have any screen printing you want done.

If you have any questions about the discount program, our egg CSA, or anything else, please do let us know! We are happy to help you out.