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Display your products with purpose

There’s both art and science to displaying produce at a market. A beautiful display catches the eye of customers and brings them to your stand. Then the science of selling takes over and makes it easy for customers to purchase your products. Here are some of the rules of farmers market display that will help you sell more:

Quality, freshness, and cleanliness need to be as good as any supermarket produce. Quantity creates an impression of bounty that appeals to customers. Don’t put out a small amount of produce, intending to replenish it as you sell. Instead, obey the old market maxim: “Stack it high and watch it fly!”

Radishes at the Portland Market


Create blocks of color — all the yellow tomatoes in one box, all the reds in another, for example. Masses of color are more visible from a distance. Yellow is the most visible color, so put it out front where it can be seen. Tilt your boxes and baskets toward customers so they can see at a glance what’s available. Take a sprayer with cold water and mist your produce often to keep it fresh and glistening.

Cross-sell products with signs and recipe cards, and by grouping items with suggestions for ways to use them together. For example, put kale next to potatoes with a recipe for Portuguese kale stew. Put basil near the tomatoes, and mint by the radishes. Recipe cards are easy with Growing for Market’s Farm Fresh Recipes, which contains 300 ready-to-copy recipe cards for fresh produce.

Put price signs on everything. People hate to have to ask the price. Use volume pricing to encourage larger sales, e.g. $1 each or 6 for $5. Create a traffic flow by placing bags on one end of the stand, the cash register on the other.
Use signs to help you sell. While you’re busy waiting on one customer, start the sales talk with the next customer with interesting signs. Mention flavor, variety names, possible uses, historical facts (e.g., “Thomas Jefferson’s favorite grape!”)

For more on market displays, pricing, insurance, and related issues, download a free copy of “Selling at Farmers Markets.”

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Reprinted from JSS Advantage July 2010.