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.

And that’s what I want to gripe about for a moment here today.town_912

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?town_914

Anal!

I’m done with my rant!

SHARING INFORMATION

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…..

Not anal!

Have a great week!

Bill

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10 thoughts on “Dealing with Local Governments and Anal Thinking

  1. What a shame that you are charged so much money to participate in a farmers market. Makes one think that it might be better to get together a group of urban farmers to start your own market. It just makes no sense! Perhaps it might be easier to market your eggs through a local farm shop or create some delicious food using them. Add value to what you already have!

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  2. The government has their hand out at every level. It is expensive to be lazy so-and-so’s.
    Good luck with sales of your products.

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  3. That was nice of Tristan to help you and like you say it ends up helping the entire community. Too bad about those high fees – it’s like they are discouraging locals from taking part… It will come back to bite them, I think. You keep your head high and helping others, dear friend! 🙂

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  4. The fees that markets charge are so varied here too and some very high which angers me greatly. Most here do not take a percentage to my knowledge but pay different amounts depending on category of product. Craft is smallest, Artisan produce (think that would be you here) and hot food most expensive at min €100 plus electricity charge. Best of luck with the markets Bill, keep smiling!!!

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  5. Hey, Bill. My husband and I visited his brother and wife yesterday. They have a nice home in a quiet village and have only one neighbour. They are surrounded by farmers’ fields. While they are not farmers themselves, they do well when it comes to growing veg. They’ve got runner beans in bloom, beets ready for harvesting, tomatoes on the vine and chili peppers and strawberries in the greenhouse. They also have free run of an apple orchard next door and we should be getting fresh-baked apple pies within the month. I envied them their lifestyle up until my husband told me they do get visits from rats and mice. All of a sudden, the grass on my side seemed a whole lot greener.

    Have a great Sunday.

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    1. Zulma, there is no getting away from the rats and mice, I’m afraid. We have two rats who live in the rabbit enclosure. We can’t get them out and they are quite happy sharing space with the rabbits. LOL At least I’m smart enough to know some battles I cannot win.

      Happy Sunday to you and thanks always.

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