Up bright and early this morning to talk to growers and vendors at 6:45 at the North Tonawanda Farmers Market. This is a 102 year old market. One vendor has been coming there for 92 years – since he was five years old! They are known for the garlic.

Here’s what we observed at this market:
-Only about 8 farmers compared to about 25 total vendors today. Farmer vendors said there are more farmers at the Saturday market and a larger crowd of customers.
-Childs Blueberry Farm had pints for $3.75, $14 for a half gallon. This farm hand picks their berries, sorts for a premium berry, works with local grocery stores (Wegman’s) to sell and market their pick-your-own at home, have a son who makes wine from the berries, have eight acres of blueberries and go to several farmers markets.
-Sunnyside Farms was selling their pesticide free greenhouse flowers. They use natural predators to control pests. Two generations were working at the stand. Third generation was waking up from a nap. Innovative growers – even had kiwi vines the son grew from seed he saved from a store bought kiwi.
-Seabert Farm had the first tomatoes of the season at $3.50 per quart. The father and son team were selling a wide variety of produce grown on their farrm.

Comments/Prices from vendors:
-Tomatoes – $3-$3.50/Quart
-Sweet Onions – $1 ea
-Sweetcorn – $3 – $5/Dozen
-Beans – $2/Quart (also mix – 1/2 wax, 1/2 green in one quart)
-Tiny Zukes, Yellow Squash and similar – $2/Quart
-Hot/Wax/Jalapenos – $1.50-2/Quart
-Mixed quarts of different fruits AND mixed quarts of a variety of veggies were sold by several vendors to meet the needs of one/two person households.
-One vendor stated, “The selling of tupperware, sunglasses and other items cheapens the values of farm products.” We felt this was an interesting statement, and did notice cheaper prices at resellers’ booths versus farmers’ booths on fruits and vegetables.

We thought many farm vendors could have benefitted from additional marketing. Everyone (farmers and resellers) had ‘Home Grown’ signs on their produce. Maybe farmers could benefit from additional signage with pictures of the family/employees in the orchard, in the field and so on to show customers they are the ones caring for and producing the items. We were impressed with the number of young adults and older children helpilng with the family farms and working at the market.

Overall, a great visit and good crowd of customers for very early on a Thursday morning!

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