Farmer’s Market – Perception vs. Reality

Perception, or expectations, and reality are not always the same thing.  Rarely are they the same thing.  In this case I am talking about your perception of what it will be like being a vendor at a Farmer’s Market versus the reality.

Perception – it will not take long to get things together, get there, and unload.  We can do all the logistical planning the day of Market and wait till an hour before to load and unload.  After all, it is only a few blocks away.

Reality – “What?!? It is 10 minutes till the Market opens and we are not quite ready to go?  Okay, you go and I will finish up here.  I will bring all the extras and the large items.  We just need to have something set up for the first time.”

Perception – it is only a few hours long.  We do not need snacks or drinks.

Reality – all that talking makes you thirsty.

Perception – taking a toddler who has never been a similar situation is a great idea because it will teach them lessons about entrepreneurship.

Reality – “Don’t eat the money!”, “The produce is not a toy”, “No, you can not have the neighboring stand’s candy/jams/cinnamon rolls or the ice cream/soda/sandwich from the store across the street.  We have snacks and lunch in our cooler.”

Perception – toddler in question will bring in people with their adorable smile.

Reality – “Where did Little Jimmy go?  Who is he talking to?”, “Don’t play so close to the street”, “Watch out for the band’s speaker and electrical cords … don’t touch their sound board!”  All the while your customers are wanting  your attention to ask questions and actually buy produce.

Now, in all honesty, this is not a toddler who has been with me since birth.  That toddler would have been taken from birth to situations like this.  I talked with one mom, who also goes to markets, about her experience.  Her experience sounded a lot like what I would have done.  She said she started off when her 1st was little by putting up a little play yard behind her stand.  As the kid got older she knew what was expected and the mom did not have to worry about her very much. (Note: that is not an affiliate link, in case you are wonder.  I just linked an item similar to what I was talking about.)  That is the reality I was hoping for.  Maybe next year or the year after.

Perception – people will love the baskets decorated with seasonal/holiday decor.

Reality – “That basket looks really cute” as the potential customer walks by.

Perception – We had a lot of strawberries.

Reality – We were out of strawberries before the market was technically even open.  Unfortunately we did not have more as the rest had already been turned into jam.


Your perceptions/expectations and reality may be different than mine.  You have a unique set of customers and variables where you are.  However, there will always be a learning curve.  Just because things work well one year, does not mean they will work well the following year.

Looking back I can laugh at some of the things I used to think.  Really?  No water, yet it was about 4 hours of talking.  Hmm, yeah.  Care to share any ‘words of wisdom’ you have learned?