Michael Adams Green Mountain Mustard and Gredio

Michael Adams, Owner
Green Mountain Mustard & Gredio

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The Best Farmer’s Market Display Tip (Plus 4 more!)

It’s that time of year again – farmer’s market season! Locally, our summer farmer’s market starts in two weeks. I’m incredibly excited. There are over 90 vendors with everything from produce, to jam, wooden crafts, and egg rolls. And tons of new vendors, too.

If you’re a new vendor, creating a display can be tough. You don’t quite know how you’re display is going to look compared to other vendors, and you want to sell as much product as possible, right?

That’s where my number one tip comes in: height.

Use height to make your booth inviting

Of the thousands of farmer’s market booths I’ve seen, display height has always made a difference in which booths I walk into. They’re store-like – with shelves, tons of product, and they’re clean.

farmer's market display

Think of your booth as a grocery store – a 10×10 shopping paradise. Walk into a grocery store in your area and you’ll notice different heights all lover the place – from traditional shelving, to produce displays, and decorated end-caps (the ends of the aisle).

Incorporating height into your display

The best way is with a shelving unit. We’ve either hand-built ours with scrap wood in the garage or you can pick up metal shelving like this one from Office Depot. It’s super easy to put together, throw in your car, and you’re off. The shelves are adjustable to fit small 4oz jars or bottles of salad dressing.

For a first shot at a great booth, this metal shelve will be just fine. Use the front part of the shelf to advertise pricing and market specials.

Observe your customers

Watch how customers shop your shelves and adjust accordingly. For example, one of our shelves has six facings of product – three of each of our most popular flavors. And we have an entire shelf devoted to limited edition products.

I can guarantee customers stop just because of the height of your display. If you have a smaller table with one level of product, it’s hard to tell from the distance what you’ve got so raise it up!

Four Bonus Tips for a Great Farmer’s Market Display

1. Get Signage

Banners are your best friend. They’re often under $100 and easily communicate your company name, location, and what you’re selling. Looking for a source? I get mine from Design to Print.

2. Brand Your Booth

You’ve got company colors, right? Consistent branding is key for a farmer’s market is important because it makes your company recognizable to repeat customers or locals who have seen your brand on store shelves. From coordinating banners, to tablecloths, and fonts, make everything relate back to your brand.

3. Keep Shelves Stocked

Over-flowing buckets and fully-stocked shelves are a sign that you’ve got what your customers need. In other word’s “there’s plenty more where that came from.” It eases the customer’s mind and looks more professional.

4. Make Yourself Presentable

As much as you would love to ignore what you look like behind your table, it makes a huge difference. Would you approach a vendor who is slumped over their product and texting or would you rather approach someone who’s smiling and ready to talk with you about their product? Probably the later. You are as much a part of the display as your product is.

Farmer’s markets are a great way to get your product out to the masses and increase your direct sales. But, you have to take them seriously. Their like store demos on steroids and have to be treated as such.

Good luck this selling season and let me know if you have any tips for farmer’s market newbies below.

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31 Comments on this post

  1. AUTHORSharon Richardson

    on April 30, 2013 at 12:55 pm - Reply

    Michael

    Great ideas and suggestions. We work a farmers market evey Sat. in Austin (Cedar Park) Tx. I have been incorporating just about evey suggestion you made here. The only negative comments come from other vendors, saying that no one has to do all that if they have a good enough product. On the other hand, few Saturdays go by without us receiving a compliment from a shopper. Thanks, keep those ideas coming and best to you and your family in life and business.

    • AUTHORmichael

      on April 30, 2013 at 8:27 pm - Reply

      Hi Sharon,

      Thanks for stopping by! We can’t wait for our farmer’s market to start-up next week! Compliments from your customers are the best, aren’t they? I think a good display can sell any product! How big is your market in Texas?

    • AUTHORmichael

      on May 5, 2013 at 4:50 pm - Reply

      Hi Shelley,

      Thanks for dropping by! As a fellow pun-maker myself, I appreciate yours. If you can, send me a pic of your new display! I’d love to see it!

  2. AUTHORSimply Pure Foods

    on July 20, 2013 at 2:57 am - Reply

    Great ideas! I’m new to the food industry. I have my first farmers market on Tuesday, July 23,2013. I’m really liking the height suggestion. My product is vegan sugar free cookies. Hopefully this works just as well for my company. Any suggestions on other eye-candy that I can display my cookies in to make my table look unstoppable?

    • AUTHORmichael

      on July 21, 2013 at 3:32 pm - Reply

      Thanks and good luck with your first farmer’s market on Tuesday! As for cookies, if you sell them in packs, I’d merchadise the packs just like you find the grocery store – on shelves. If you sell them by the individual cookie, try stacking the cookie with a sign in-front of it with kind and price. That way, you have a large stack of cookies to draw people’s eyes over. Hope this helps!

  3. AUTHORJulie Hammond

    on January 3, 2014 at 6:50 am - Reply

    Love the height idea. What would you suggest for cheeses in a hot climate like Texas?
    I have been struggling with this one where temps for product and samples must be maintained below 41 deg.

    • AUTHORmichael

      on January 4, 2014 at 3:05 am - Reply

      Hey Julie – thanks for the comment. Height really does make a difference! As for your cheese samples, I’d build wood covered ice packs and raise them up. We sample our mustard cold on ice packs that are covered in wood. You can always paint the wood if you’d like, too, to match your company colors. Hope that helps 🙂

  4. AUTHORDenise

    on April 9, 2014 at 1:49 pm - Reply

    This will be my first go with a farmers market, or any selling for that matter. I am going to try and sell homemade bread and strawberry/fig jam. Along with, homemade laundry soap and plants. This is a family venture and not sure if I am trying to add too much under one tent. We homeschool and have always went big or go home.

    I am looking for suggestions for even a name for this family venture. Any suggestions? Also, tent display for such an array of products?

    • AUTHORmichael

      on April 17, 2014 at 11:25 pm - Reply

      Hi Denise,

      I emailed you directly – hope the venture is going well!

      Michael

  5. AUTHORMichelle

    on May 5, 2014 at 8:23 pm - Reply

    Hi Michael,
    My husband and father-in-law grow a few acres of produce and we have an Honor Wagon that we keep stocked all summer. Also every Saturday all summer long my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and I do a farmers market. (And I use the term farmers market loosely as we are usually the only vendors, we set up a tent on the library lawn in town and sell our produce) We have been doing this going on 4 years now and we have had quite a success and are gaining a great reputation where people count on us to be there which is great! I am just wondering if you have any suggestions for how to set up a pricing display (both on each product as well as on a “Master List”)? We change our prices through out the season as our supply and demands change so we need something that is not permanent but at the same time that looks nice and professional, but also something that is portable and easy to set up and take down yet durable enough to last from week to week. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks!
    Michelle

    • AUTHORmichael

      on May 6, 2014 at 12:28 pm - Reply

      Hey Michelle,

      Congrats on your own personal farmer’s market! As for pricing, I’ve seen a lot of farmer’s use chalkboards or whiteboards. They’re easy to erase and update and keep the “small farmer” look. As for individual pricing, clarity is key – no small writing, big numbers, and make discounts obvious. You can pick up small chalkboards for individual items or use small clips to attach laminated signs you can write on with a sharpie and erase. Hope that helps! Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment!

  6. AUTHORKathy

    on June 21, 2014 at 4:22 pm - Reply

    I am going to start taking my homemade laundry soap to the Farmer’s market. Any ideas how to package or display it to make it more appealing to the customer? Thank you.

    • AUTHORmichael

      on June 22, 2014 at 5:09 pm - Reply

      Hi Kathy,

      I’d package in clear easy-to-scoop out of plastic container with directions. As for display, height will work to your advantage. Build a couple shelves and stack the containers. Hope that helps!

      Michael

  7. AUTHORHeather Joiner

    on July 22, 2014 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    These are terrific tips. We incorporate all of them and get tremendously great feedback from our customers but unfortunately not from other vendors. Other vendors see it as just an added expense. So our local market resembles a flea market much more than a Farmers’ Market. Hopefully that will change as vendors become prouder of their products.

    • AUTHORmichael

      on July 22, 2014 at 7:55 pm - Reply

      Interesting how vendors resent your display! I’m sure you worked hard on it and it looks great. I’d imagine they’d be taking a few notes to improve their own display. Thanks for reading, Heather!

  8. AUTHORLaura

    on October 29, 2014 at 11:05 am - Reply

    Hi, Im starting to sell produce this weekend at an outdoor market. I only have 2 small tables and would love your thoughts on how to utilize the space. My produce is mainly heirloom tomatoes, colorful peppers and cucumbers.
    Laura

    • AUTHORmichael

      on October 29, 2014 at 10:01 pm - Reply

      Hey Laura!

      Congrats on taking the leap with farmer’s markets. If you have a lot of produce, make your tent “browsable” like a grocery story. If you have two small tables, put them front and center. One thing many produce vendors fail at is large, clear signage. I want to know what it is and how much it is. Don’t scribble. Print a sign out. And if you can, stack your produce to get some good height. Good luck 🙂

      – Michael

  9. AUTHORMarshall

    on June 22, 2015 at 6:27 am - Reply

    Hi, I ran across your blog while looking for tips on how to best set up a farmers market vendor space. I’m a newbie … this is my first season … I’ve had 2 days of experience … could use some direction.

    We sell solid cheese, cheese spreads (tubs), chocolate milk (8 oz, 16 oz, 32 oz), and whole milk (32 oz and 64 oz). We use a fair amount of ice to keep things cool. I like your idea of elevating displays, but I’m not sure how to do that seeing as we need to keep things on ice. Regarding the chocolate milk and whole milk, we fill up a tub with product and ice. It sits on the table … is about 1 ft in height. Regarding a display sign, we have one, but is way too wide to hang on the front of the tent awning … it would hang too low and get in the way of customers.

    We do offer samples of all of our products.

    Any ideas appreciated. Thanks !!

    • AUTHORmichael

      on June 23, 2015 at 10:35 pm - Reply

      Hi Marshall — thanks for reading! You have a lot of products available, which should make for an eye-catching display. A couple of suggestions for your display:

      – Elevate your ice tubs and angle them towards the customers so they can see the product closer to eye level.
      – You don’t have to merchandise everything — just sample out and explain the tubs are in the cooler under or behind your table
      – Advertise your best selling product — that means people want it and you’re more likely to pull people in.

      Hope these tips help you with your display — good luck with the biz!

      Michael

  10. AUTHORBryan

    on April 13, 2016 at 5:19 pm - Reply

    Hey Michael,

    Great tips, as always. I’m a first-time market vendor, selling jarred soups and broths in sizes ranging from 16oz to 32oz. They must all be kept on ice, and I plan to sell by the jar, as well as in 6-unit cleanse packages.

    Any tips for an attractive display? If raising the product is a good idea, can you link to any products that might help me with that?

    Thanks,

    Bryan

    • AUTHORmichael

      on April 22, 2016 at 3:13 pm - Reply

      Hi Bryan,

      Sorry for the delay in my response – lots going on! You need to keep everything refrigerated so your best bet is sacrificing some product as display product and then have your sellable product packed away in coolers. That’s what many vendors up here do. Good luck with your display!

  11. AUTHORKhushbu

    on June 3, 2016 at 1:27 am - Reply

    Hey Michael, first time vendor at farmers market selling premium handmade chocolates. Thinking of selling in boxes of 2 and 4 chocolates. Any suggestions/advice would be highly appreciated. Thank you!

    • AUTHORmichael

      on June 3, 2016 at 4:21 pm - Reply

      Hi Khushbu,

      Thanks for reading the blog and congrats on your chocolate business! My best advice is to keep your samples cold. I think 2 and 4 is smart because then it’s accessible for all consumers instead of selling boxes of 12 (which you can still do!). Good luck!

      — Michael

  12. AUTHORJames

    on February 14, 2017 at 10:57 pm - Reply

    I’m joining my local farmers market this year; what are some good display ideas?
    I’ll be selling frozen pastured meats (chicken, pork, lamb, goat), wool yarn from my critically endangered sheep, professionally tanned lambskins, handmade soaps, and maybe some produce too.

    • AUTHORmichael

      on February 18, 2017 at 11:48 am - Reply

      Hi James — There are some display ideas in this post, but it seems like you’ve got a lot of products going on. Separating them into sections will help. Have a list of frozen meats available with the cooler behind the table and some wooden boxes to display everything else. Maybe hang the lambskins from your tent?

      Good luck! – Michael

  13. AUTHORTim

    on June 4, 2018 at 12:31 pm - Reply

    Hi — Any suggestions for woodworking? I’m considering selling bread boards and pizza peels. They’re above normal price ($40-$120) for a normal market. I don’t have a lot pre made -they’re more like samples. I’d be doing custom orders. Maybe I should make a lot and hope I sell them. Fairly unsure about the whole thing.

    • AUTHORmichael

      on June 15, 2018 at 10:55 am - Reply

      Hi Tim – sorry for the slow response – it’s been a crazy summer so far. I would actually hang your boards or pizza wheels from the top of your tent or display them at an angle so people can see them as they pass by. The one thing you don’t want to do is have them lay flat – unless you have a pile of excess inventory and then one is displayed on top.

      Hope that helps!

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