Courtesy of Wally S., Wally’s Urban Market Garden, Saskatoon SK
If you are in a year round farmers market like I am, you have the opportunity to fill your stocking with some extra Christmas cash. Markets have gotten much more sophisticated about attracting additional shoppers at this time of year, those who want gifts that are craftsy, not made in China.
For the last several years, the Saskatoon Farmers Market has been promoting itself as a go-to destination for the holidays, with special events like a Gingerbread House contest (“all team sizes and ages welcome”). This year a special night market in early December became a much anticipated event , and the Dinner in the Dark, that laid out a farmers’ market sourced meal served under gradually dimming light and culminating with dessert in total darkness, sold out weeks in advance.
It’s fun and lucrative to play Santa. Handmade candles, soaps, baked goods, basically any non-produce item will sell, if you put a ribbon around it. To give you a flavor of our market this time of year, come along with Gail and I on a behind the scenes tour of this year’s holiday market.
Year round indoor markets are in the unique position to capture extra sales at the holidays by attracting gift shoppers. But as a vendor you need to step up your game in terms of product offerings.
Decorating the tree has become a yearly ritual for vendors. We put forth a team effort and bond over some spiked hot cocoa. This tree is not local, and it’s not even alive. When it comes to marketing, we do what’s practical.
Bakers really cash in. Platters of homemade cookies can go for as much as $50. Sometimes people gift themselves. At this time of year, you don’t have to twist any arms.
Candles and soaps are other sure bets. Diversifying your produce operation with value added items like these eliminates the hassle of having to have a commercial kitchen.
Another sure bet, tried and tested for several years by Gail. Bird feeder gifts are always the right size and color.
A book signed by the author is a very personal gift. One you won’t get from a big box store. And whenever you are looking for a gift that is 100% pure how-to, always keep in mind a SPIN guide.
The competitive spirit moves from gingerbread houses to ice sculptures. Even outside events draw crowds.
HAVE A COOL YULE EVERYBODY!