Sales Tips for the Shy Farmer

Courtesy of Wally S., Wally’s Urban Market Garden, Saskatoon, SK

Engage with customers. How often have you heard that? It’s good advice, since the big benefit to local food is being able to connect with those who grew it. “Put a face to your food” is a great marketing pitch, but if you are naturally shy, this is a lot easier said than done. Here’s what can take the dread out of going to your farmer’s market.

  •  If you’re not a talker, breaking the ice with words is hard. Instead, you can use “visual icebreakers”  – photos of your farm. Yours is unusual in that it is a SPIN farm:  small plot intensive and ultra-local.  People will come over to look at the photos, and you can put up a sign – “Ask me about my SPIN farm.”
  • Talk about how you practice SPIN-Farming and lead it back to why your produce is fresh and high-quality. We can provide the SPIN logo to you if you would like to use it, and you can do up inexpensive tabletop posters, or hang them on the tablecloth that list your SPIN practices. There is lots of information on the SPIN website about SPIN-Farming that you can use.
  • Concentrate on selling your farm and produce, not yourself. What helped me get over my shyness was realizing that I did not have to talk about myself, only about my farm and produce.
  • Provide tips on how your produce can be used. Many farmers give out recipe cards, especially for produce items that may be unfamiliar to customers.

I’m not exaggerating that I am frequently hoarse by the end of my market day. I can’t wait until they engineer a carrot that sells itself.