Understanding Customer Behavior at Farmers Markets to Improve Farm Sales

Understanding customer behavior at farmers markets to improve farm sales

Date: Thursday, April 19th
Time: 9:30am-2:30pm
Location: Lake Morey Resort- Fairlee, VT
Cost: $25 NOFA-VT and VTFMA members, $35 non-members. Lunch is included.
Registration is closed but there still is space! If you're interested in attending, please email [email protected]

Please join us as we welcome the folks from GrowNYC’s FARMroots and Greenmarket Programs for this unique workshop for both farmers and farmers market managers. The workshop will start with both audiences together learning about GrowNYC’s Customer Behavior at Farmers Markets Study. After lunch, the two audiences will break apart, with the farmer audience diving into FARMroots’ research and presentation about ways to use POS systems, and the market manager audience learning how to measure customer behavior at their market and exploring how to use this information to support their market’s vendors.

More Information

Customer Behavior at Farmers Markets

As the local food movement continues to expand, and competition for the retail market dollar increases, the need for farmers to develop innovative marketing strategies is critical. What can farmers do to attract more shoppers to their stands? How can farmers actively market their products in and out of the farmers markets? What can farmers do to better understand customer behavior at the market, and how can they use this information to increase customer satisfaction? By leveraging customer research performed by grocery stores and large scale food retailers, and building on over 40 years of institutional knowledge internally, FARMroots created a tool for measuring customer behavior at farmers markets and developed strategies to increase sales and customer satisfaction. Over the past three years FARMroots has used this tool with over 50 producers and implemented strategies to successfully increase their sales at market.

How to use your POS system to better understand and grow your farm business

A Point of Sale (POS) system can improve a farm business in a variety of important ways. At its most basic, a POS system allows your farm business to process credit card transactions. This is increasingly becoming a necessity as the economy continues to move towards more cashless currency. At is most complex, a POS system can be a powerful business tool to gather comprehensive marketing information. As a farmer, can you accurately describe the size of your average sale? Do you know how much a discount increases gross sales of one of your products? What time of the day/week/year do you make the most gross sales? Which are your most/least profitable products? Join FARMroots as we help you understand why POS is the key to answer many of these critical questions.

About GrowNYC

GrowNYC’s mission is to improve New York City's quality of life through environmental programs that transform communities block by block and empower all New Yorkers to secure a clean and healthy environment for future generations. Over the past 45 years they’ve become a service organization, operating 50+ farmers markets and regional food hub, providing city-wide recycling and composting resources, supporting a network of 100’s of community gardens,  and creating a robust farmer and community education program. Their Greenmarket Farmers Market network sees over 250,000 customers each week with 224 regional farmers and food producers.

Greenmarket was founded in 1976 with a two-fold mission: to promote regional agriculture by providing small family farms the opportunity to sell their locally grown products directly to consumers, and to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to the freshest, most nutritious locally grown food the region has to offer. Today their programming includes Greenmarket Co., Youthmarket, Fresh Food Box, and the Wholesale Greenmarket.

FARMroots provides both aspiring and established Greenmarket farmers with business technical assistance and training designed to ensure the long-term viability of participating farms and farmland.  Technical assistance is provided through both in-house services and through the engagement of cost-shared consultants. 

Presenter Bios

Christopher Wayne

Chris is responsible for the development and strategic management of the FARMroots program, which provides business development technical assistance to beginning and established farm business to ensure the long-term viability of regional farm businesses. Mr. Wayne manages three primary technical assistance programs, including beginning farmer development, strategic marketing, and established farmer technical assistance. Mr. Wayne grew up on his family’s farm in Danbury, Connecticut and worked on a vegetable field crew in Costa Rica for two years. Before becoming FARMroots Director in 2014, Mr. Wayne held three positions at GrowNYC including New Farmer Development Project (NFDP) Associate, NFDP Coordinator, and FARMroots Beginning Farmer Coordinator. Mr. Wayne completed a Masters in Sustainable Management from Columbia University in May of 2016.

Erik Hassert

Erik's connection with food first began while cooking in kitchens on the Jersey Shore as a teenager. In 2009, Erik shifted from a career in video production and photography to apprentice at a whole animal butcher shop which sourced from farms in the Northeast area.  Working closely with those farmers to help deliver and market their products in NYC led Erik to a position at Sun Fed Beef, a 1200-acre livestock operation in New York, as the Director of Sales and Operations. During his time there, Erik developed new product lines, increased customer interactions, designed websites and branding and analyzed potential markets to increase profitability, and diversified revenue streams. In his role as Marketing Specialist at FARMroots, Erik works with growers on projects to increase sales at farmers markets as well as Scaling Up projects to help producers develop addition wholesale channels.

Michael Hurwitz

For the past ten years, Michael Hurwitz has served as the Director of Greenmarket, a program of GrowNYC that operates 51 producer-only farmers markets throughout New York City. Under Michael’s leadership, Greenmarket operates the nation’s largest farmers market-based food access initiatives under its Healthy Exchange Program. In 2011, he created the FARMRoots Technical Assistance Program, providing marketing, business, and succession planning assistance to Greenmarket growers. Michael was also integral in forming Greenmarket Co., NYC’s only food hub. Additionally, with Teachers College at Columbia University, Michael co-developed Seed to Platea standards-based food curriculum for 5th and 6th graders. Prior to joining GrowNYC, Michael co-founded Added Value & Herban Solutions, Inc., a nonprofit organization in Red Hook, Brooklyn that trains young adults to be the leaders of change in their communities by operating a socially responsible market-farming micro enterprise. He graduated as a Public Service Scholar from the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law and received his Master of Social Word from the University of Pennsylvania, specializing in Children and Families and Macro Social Work Practice. Michael is active within the sustainable agriculture and youth development arenas; he received a Union Square Award in 2006, as well as a Petra Fellowship in 200. In his free time, Michael loves gardening, cooking (for hours), competing in triathlons while imagining all the ribs he’ll eat upon crossing the finish line, and spending time with his wife and two sons.