So, as many of you know, lately we have dabbled in the world of farmers’ markets, selling our quail eggs shoulder-to-shoulder with our son and daughter-in-law, Matt and Rachel, as they sell their goat cheese.
I’ve mentioned how much I enjoy the farmers’ market experience, getting to know other local farmers, listening to their stories, and feeling a sense of community I think is so important for our future as a species.
Part of the whole “market” experience is finding the right markets to sell at. Where are the biggest crowds? Where is the greatest demand?….that sort of thing….so Seattle has been tried, and Steilacoom, and West Olympia, and Tumwater, and soon another in Seattle and one in Puyallup, and there are a couple in Tacoma worth considering, and….well, you get the picture.
PAYING THE PIPER
Each market costs vendors money. The way it normally works, a farmer will pay a flat fee for the use of a booth for one day, and also pay a percentage of the sales for the day. West Olympia charges $15 per day or $120 for the season, a very reasonable fee. They also take a nominal percentage…something like 5%…..Steilacoom charges $30 per day and a percentage of sales….the Olympia Farmers’ Market downtown is so expensive we can’t even consider it, and Seattle….well, let’s talk about Seattle for a moment.
Now I’m going to be slightly off with the figures, but trust me, they are close to the actual figures. The U-District Market in Seattle charges $150 per day plus a percentage, but they also charge something like $250 for a seller’s permit, so before you even unload your car and sell your first quail egg, you are $400 in the hole.
That’s a lot of quail eggs and goat cheese, friends! That kind of “gutting” may not hurt the guy who sells smoked salmon and has over $3,000 in sales daily, but the smaller farmers have a real hard time justifying the cost and many simply cannot do it.
And I think that’s a shame and inexcusable!
THE POINT IS
A nominal fee is one thing, and defensible, but why charge local farmers exorbitant fees? It makes no sense to me! Why discourage small local farmers from taking place in local events that are held to promote localism?
I’m done with my rant!
We spend a lot of time at the local Urban Farm & Garden Center. In fact, Bev works there part-time, and it really is a great place to hang. So when we decided to try our hands at greenhouse gardening/farming, we turned to our friends at the center, and one of them, Tristan, their soil expert, came over to our house last week, walked around our urban farm, and gave us tips on how to proceed.
No fee was charged by Tristan, by the way. Tristan understands that his sharing information with us will eventually help the community as we learn to produce quality vegetables and herbs….community….help…..no charge…..
Have a great week!