Need some help with cornering farmers markets? Look no further. Here we lay out five tips for cornering farmers markets and getting the most out of your time.

Goal-Plan Before Grow

To ensure an efficient and profitable experience for your market, it is important to become goal oriented before the actual growing season. Decide on your target consumer group, whether to group yourself with other like-minded growers, or whether you will request sponsorship from local businesses and the location of your market in terms of local demand. Setting these and other goals before the growing season will ensure a smooth transition once your crops are prepared for sale.

Promos, Promos, Promos

Advertising helps provide the community with the information and incentive they need to be drawn to your market. Although free advertising through newspaper and television coverage is often best, it cannot always be guaranteed, so it may be best to seek this coverage through inviting the media or the local mayor to your market. Otherwise, you might invest in fliers, bumper stickers, brightlycolored banners and newspaper ads to spark interest in your community.

Catching the Eye

Once preliminaries are set, designing your layout is much of the battle. Consumers are more likely to buy from your stall if the layout is colorful, creatively organized, clearly labeled, descriptive and contains straightforward pricing signs. Nina Planck, founder of the Regional Food Council, suggested a variety of products to hold the attention of the consumer: “Sell a variety: many different vegetables, even in small quantities, flavors of juice, cuts of meat. Customers will stay longer and spend more.”

Speaking of the Customer…

It is very important to not only engage the consumer in helpful, enthusiastic customer service, but also to know your products inside and out. Be prepared to answer all questions that the customer may have, and be sure to sample your own product to give a subjective appraisal. The more a farmer knows about his or her crop, the more it satisfies the customer’s curiosities. Also, include instructions on how to keep certain products so that they last longer and achieve maximum freshness.

Don’t Fear the Reaper

Do not become overwhelmed by the competition that can arise between individual growers in the marketplace. As stated, consumers appreciate variety, so competing with other farmers in price and product is compelling for the shop-savvy customer. Contributors of the Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs suggested, “…try to set it up so that you have a core nucleus of at least three farmers who can supply adequate diversity… Try to make sure your market is competitive from the start.”

Read more: 4 Tips for Marketing Your Farmstand