The Art of Farmers’ Market Selling
Bruce Baker, nationally recognized marketing and merchandizing guru is coming to Rutland! With over 500 workshops under his belt, Baker has helped to boost vendors’ sales and profits at craft fairs and farmers’ markets across the United States and Canada. On August 31, farmers will have the opportunity to learn from Baker in a workshop sponsored by the Rutland Area Farm and Food Link.
Farmers’ markets have more than doubled in the past ten years, with just over 3,000 in 2002 and nearly 8,000 in 2012. There are nearly 100 markets operating in Vermont alone. Most farmers have caught on, and are taking full advantage of the opportunity of the direct-to-consumer sales these new markets provide. At this workshop growers will learn about marketing: communicating the value of your product, and merchandising: the art of selling.
With nearly every booth at the market overflowing with a bounty of beautiful, seemingly flawless produce, farming isn’t just about growing anymore. Farmers aiming for direct-market sales must also learn to become good salespeople. Growers attending the workshop will learn how to ensure that a farmers’ market booth stands out and doesn’t blend in with the rows of other white tents. Farmers with farmstands will better understand the science behind getting customers to pull over and stop instead of passing by.This is a rare opportunity to learn what works and what doesnít from one of the best. Baker will discuss the importance of strategic booth design and how to attract more customers into a market booth or farmstand through marketing, communication and merchandising. Baker will discuss how consumer trends have changed over the past decade and why these trends do indeed apply to any grower.
The worskshop will begin with a classroom session to learn the basics. After a short break, attendees will take a tour of the Rutland Farmers’ Market to evaluate what we’ve just learned. Producers will have an opportunity to have Bruce give a one-on-one analysis of their booth, with suggestions for improvement, in a 15-minute session before or after the workshop. All growers will leave with the tools and knowledge needed to create an enticing display that draws in customers. Registration is required for one-on-one sessions with Baker, and encouraged for those choosing to attend the workshop only. The workshop will begin at 10 and will end by 12:20. The workshop will begin in the conference room adjacent to the RAFFL offices on the third floor of the Rutland Opera House. Farmers interested in a one-on-one session can bring photos of a farmstand or market display. If desired, farmers may create a mock-display indoors. Vendors at the Rutland Farmers’ Market can sign up for a one-on-one session while set up outdoors.
Online registration will end August 19. Early registration is encouraged for those hoping to secure a spot for a one-on-one session, as they are anticipated to fill up. Growers can register at rutlandfarmandfood.org or by calling 417-7096. The Rutland Area Farm and Food Link is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that supports farmers and strengthens communities. Its mission is to support new and existing farms within the Rutland region, to inspire and expand community-wide participation in the agricultural economy, and to develop an increased appreciation for the positive impacts local farms have on the whole Rutland region.