Ripening dates for the Louisville Area (PDF)
Click here for the 2014 flier. Click here for the map of locations.
STARTING A FARMERS MARKET
How do I start a farmers market?
Begin by evaluating your objectives for setting up a market, which will help you recruit farmers, or perhaps decide an alternative to providing parishioners, employees or neighbors access to local foods.
Remember that it’s a great deal of work for farmers to set up at a market. They get up very early, load their trucks, drive a long way, set up tables and tents, unload, stand up to 4 hours to make sales, load back up and drive a long way home. They must also pay for gasoline. The market itself will take them a full day, picking for it often takes another day. Farmers, like everyone, want a good working environment and fair pay for honest work. If they can’t make that fair wage for their time and effort, they won’t keep coming.
Consider these questions.
Who will manage your market? Markets must be organized and maintained. On occasion farmers need to be rearranged, disputes need settling, questions need answering, support needs to be given, interference needs to be run between consumers and farmers. Somebody needs to be in charge. Signs announcing your market should be put up and taken down each week. The more signs the better. Consumer services like EBT/Debit card machines might be offered and you’ll need someone to manage that. You will need to heavily publicize your market to get people there and someone will need to manage special events.
Where will you establish your market? Some farmers markets exist for a small population inside an office building, or a church. But in general, the more visibility to traffic, the better.
Who are the shoppers? Will the neighborhood support the market? What sort of income does the neighborhood have? Are there resources to invest in an EBT machine for lower income neighborhoods, a credit/debit card machine in higher end neighborhoods? Do the potential shoppers have a particular awareness/education about eating local foods? Do you plan to help their awareness?
What sort of products do you want sold at your market? Is it just produce? Produce and meat? Produce, meat, eggs, honey, flowers and more?
Do you want to regulate the products/farmers: Some markets require the seller to be the farmer who grows the product; some allow a certain amount of reselling but insist it must be Kentucky-grown (or Ky and Ind-grown).
How will your organization support the market to make sure it's a success? All markets require consistent marketing and a base line commitment of support from their sponsors. They need signs, banners, perhaps a Facebook page, kids special events, music. . . all these things and others bring clients to the market. A weekly newsletter with recipes is helpful. Markets need continuous publicity to keep shoppers coming.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has lots of help on its website, and a valuable manual about setting up markets to view click here.
Connect with the Kentucky Farmers Market Association
Directory of Farmers Markets in Kentucky