How Much Can I Earn at a Farmers' Market?
January 31, 2010 2:20 PM   Subscribe

What sort of income levels do prepared-food stallholders at Farmers' Markets in the UK typically earn?

I am tempted to turn what kitchen talent I have into an income stream at a local Farmers' Market, producing pre-prepared food. I wonder if the hivemind has any insight into the revenues of similar 'kitchen table' producers?

USA-specific answers are greatly appreciated and of definite interest, but extra bonus points for anything UK-related :)
posted by mooders to Work & Money (3 answers total)
Minimum wage? Unless you pay them cash in hand in which case it's between you and them.
posted by theCroft at 2:30 PM on January 31, 2010

Best answer: It's slightly a how long is a piece of string question.

The dirty secret of farmers' markets is that many aren't remotely farmerish at all and some others aren't successful and quietly die (but not before stallholders waste hours waiting for the crowds to come). Some of the most successful stalls/companies - in my opinion - are really treating farmers' markets as just another channel, in addition to normal retail outlets and online or mail order sales.

Tessa Smith of the Chilli Jam Company started out in farmer's markets and is now professional. I read somewhere that at her first outing (strictly speaking a food fair than a farmer's market), she sold 200 jars of chilli jam at around £2.50 or so each.

Many of the producers I speak to at farmers' markets do a different market each day on Thursday-Sunday. Therein lies one of the keys to success - being able to scale up a little more easily.

I'd also suggest giving some serious thought to what you've got to sell - people love to browse farmer's markets, but I've been to a few where some stallholders have been pretty lonely - often because they're selling something that is too expensive and whose premium price credentials aren't clear. In these times wallets aren't going to be opened for just any old stuff. [By way of example, in my bit of London, I can think of at least 3 delis that have closed over the past year].

But anyway, good luck!
posted by MuffinMan at 2:45 PM on January 31, 2010

I think it would depend a lot on what kind of food you're talking about: obviously, some things will have a lot better sales volume / return on investment than others. If I were you, I'd spend a few days lurking, asking questions and taking notes on what seems to be selling well, what's working and not working, what isn't being offered that could be, etc. Good luck!
posted by aquafortis at 2:50 PM on January 31, 2010

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