Your pumpkin patch was planted long ago. Now the future Jack-o-lanterns are turning a dark orange and they are nearly ready to cut from the vine. You've made the decision to sell your pumpkins at the farmers market. How will you set up your booth? What else can you sell with your pumpkins. How can you encourage sales? All these questions, and more, may be in your mind as you make a sales plan.
Reserve a space at your local Farmers Market. If you have both a Farmers Market and a Saturday Market, you can reserve spaces at both. If you've already located your market, great. You can just go to the market and ask one of the vendors for the person in charge. That person is almost always there as a vendor as well as administering the market. Also, most markets advertise in the local newspaper or are online with at least a listing for contact purposes.
Collect all the basic items needed for your booth. The first major purchase will be a canopy tent. You can find these at most sporting good stores and discount stores. You will need to know the size of your Farmers Market space. The canopies come in 8 by 8 feet, 10 by 10 feet, 12 by 12 feet and some are still larger. If you will be setting up on a soft surface and can attach your canopy legs to the ground, great. If not, you will want to have four heavy bricks and some thin rope on hand to anchor your canopy. One gust of wind and it may fly off like a kite.
Next you will need tables and chairs. Folding tables and chairs are best for storage and transport. You can find these at the same location as the canopy. It's nice to have someone with you, even an older child, so that you don't have to leave your booth unattended when you need to take a break. So consider at least two chairs and as many tables as can fit inside the canopy, usually 1 to 3.
Make your booth professional and complete. Hay bails are a good choice to give your display height and levels, making it more interesting. If you purchase hay bails from a local farmer, you will need less tables. Have three Jack-o-lanterns carved with different faces with battery operated lights inside. Lighted candles are just trouble waiting to happen, so don't go in that direction. Also, with bright markers or paint, hand draw faces on three pumpkins. These are for display purposes to give customers ideas. However, if you are especially talented in this area, paint more and have them for sale. Use your creativity and decorate more pumpkins with fresh ideas.
Choose a name for your pumpkin company such as "The Great Pumpkin Company" or "Patty's Pumpkin Patch." Think of something cleaver. Have a professional plastic sign made--the kind that can be rolled up when not in use and tied to the top of your canopy, in front, when you are selling pumpkins. Print computer labels with your name and phone number to be used with anything else you will be selling with your pumpkins.
Make additional items to sell in your pumpkin booth. If you have use of a certified kitchen, you can make baked goods to sell. Homemade food items are always big sellers at these kind of markets. Make them in different sizes and price ranges. For example, make cookies sold individually, but also make pumpkin pies and pumpkin sweet loaves. Any other crafts relating to the fall season or Halloween is a good choice. Don't make your crafts too complicated, but they must be unique enough for people to purchase them and not just think they can make them at home themselves. Think about getting an extra bail of hay and making small scarecrows that can be put in the yard for decoration. Or make jewelry from polymer clay and beads and offer pumpkin recipes along with how to prepare fresh pumpkins. How about roasted pumpkin seeds in different flavored spices or mixtures.
Invite a tarot card reader or palm reader to be part of your booth or dress in costume. Appeal to all the senses of your customers. Purchase some pumpkin scented oil from the craft store and mix it with dried leaves you've collected. Then use them in your display. Bring a battery operated CD player and play some Halloween music in the background. If you are selling baked goods, offer small samples with toothpicks attached. These are the extras that really make your booth stand out and get customers coming your way.
Acquire all the local licenses needed to operate your pumpkin booth. Check with your county to learn what is required in your location as far as legalities. It's better to be prepared than to be sited with a ticket for not complying with your county's requirements.
Get a friend, child (older) or spouse to help you set up your booth. Your canopy will take two people to open and secure. Tables are also easier to set up with a helping hand. And moving all those pumpkins will tire you out before the sale begins if you go it alone.
Frequent the other vendor booths. Introduce yourself, tell them you are the pumpkin seller (mention the name of your business) and admire what they have brought to the market. If they are selling something you can use, make some purchases. Your friendly attitude will go a long way in getting customers sent your way by other vendors.