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Tag Archive: farmers market

  1. 4 food business start-up myths and how to avoid them

    4 Food Myths FB Ad Lineage

    If you’ve attended a food truck rally, farmers market or local food hall recently you’ll have noticed that small-scale food businesses are firing on all cylinders these days.  Customers are hungry for thought provoking and novel food concepts and savvy foodpreneurs are capitalizing on this trend.

    Maybe you’ve been doing some dream hatching of you own, imagining what it would be like to bring your own unique culinary concept to market and share your food passion with the world.

    There has never been a better time to start a food business than RIGHT NOW.

    If you’ve ever thought that “Hey I could do this….and probably better” but you haven’t tied on the apron and gotten started, what’s holding you back?

    Farm & Haus Savory Toast ChristineLet me guess?

    • You know you can make a damn tasty product, but you doubt your ability to put all the pieces of the business side together.
    • You love the idea of creating a truly authentic and unique culinary concept, but you hate the idea of having to be “salesy”.
    • You’ve got a foolproof concept in mind . . . however, you’re not sure how to market your product and get it in front of your customers or onto store shelves.

    Start-up food businesses are usually begun as a side-hustle, and since the hours outside the 9-to-5 are so limited there is not a SECOND to waste on activities that aren’t directly linked to profit.  But where to start?  The list of To Do’s seems endlessly long and many would be foodpreneurs get stuck in analysis paralysis.

    So….to help demystify the process of starting your food business I’m going to debunk a couple myths about the process and give you a roadmap toward a successful launch of you concept.

    We’ve all seen others do it successfully and with the right training I’m here to tell you that you can too.

    <<Click here to get my cheat sheet of 4 rookie food start up mistakes and how to avoid them>>

    Myth #1:  I need to make my product in a commercial kitchen or commissary kitchen. 

    While producing you food product through a commercial kitchen will probably become a necessity as your grow your business, thankfully for certain concepts it’s not absolutely mandatory at the get-go.

    In recent years many states have approved Cottage Food policies that enable applicable food start-ups to start producing their food products at home without needing to be in a licensed kitchen.

    These policies let foodreneurs get up and selling without many of the required permits, certifications and inspections associated with more established food businesses.

    Cottage laws vary from state to state, but there are some common restrictions worth mentioning.  First of all, approved food under the regulation are usually non-hazardous foods like baked goods, jams/jellies, granola, dry pasta, honey, etc.  Here is a list of some of the typical approved and prohibited cottage foods.

    Cottage Food Regulation Approved Foods

    David Crabill at Forrager.com has provided some dynamite resources for Cottage Food operations and if you think starting a home-based cottage food business is the path for you, check out his website.

     

    Myth #2:  I don’t need to work in a commercial kitchen or commissary kitchen. 

    This one goes hand in hand with Myth #1 and it’s because cottage food regulations have some significant drawbacks. Beyond restricting food type, cottage foods are generally approved for sale direct to consumer only and can’t be sold to grocery stores, restaurants or online.  Not being able to get your product on store shelves is reason enough for some folks to bypass operating under the cottage food regulations and sign up with a commercial kitchen instead.

    Plus look back at Myth #1, the list of approved foods allowed under the cottage food policies is pretty narrow and I bet your local farmers markets are full of foodprenuers already making and selling these food types. The little bit of extra effort to get licensed to use a commercial kitchen can pay dividends in freeing you up to pursue your culinary dreams without restriction.

    I haven’t even mentioned the gross sales cap on Cottage Food businesses. If you start your business from home and are met with success and growth right off the bat you could sail right past your state’s sales cap. Florida, for instance, has a gross sales cap of $15,000. Even as a hobbiest it’s easy to hit this cap since it’s based on gross sales, not net sales or profit. There are no caps for businesses working from commercial kitchens and for some food concepts it might just be the best place to start.

    <<In the bonus PDF – I’ll explain what licensing and permits you’ll need to get your concept legal and ready for your first sale.>>

    Myth #3: You’re happiest when you are cooking and starting a food business would be the perfect way to profit from your passion.

    I so wish this wasn’t a myth, but far too often the things that bring us joy quickly turned sour when they become the means to a financial end.

    Jessica, our chef-in-residence at East End, calls this the Food Network myth. Each day of your food business is like an episode of a highbrow cooking show. Everything neatly in its place, the fridge and cabinets perfectly stocked and all your ingredients pre-measured…..oh and all the dishes cleaned through the magic of television.

    The reality is that while most people enjoy making a Thanksgiving meal for their whole family to enjoy the thought of having to do it EVERY DAY is a scene from Groundhog day. As a food start-up if you don’t feel this monotony at some point in your early days you will be one of the exceptional few.

    Honestly, most of your time getting your culinary concept off the cutting boards will be spent sourcing ingredients, packaging, labeling, accounting, negotiating, cleaning….and more cleaning while the part you love, the making, gets relegated to a tiny 10% of your work week.

    Believe me friends, I take no pleasure in debunking this myth, but it is vital that you go into starting a food business with a bit of grit and fortitude.

    Now….it’s not all doom and gloom. Far from it! Keep in mind, launching your culinary concept means you are piloting your own ship. Finding success under you own efforts is far more satisfying than doing so under someone else’s employ and direction.

    A food venture can be, and should be, deeply fulfilling and profitable, even fun, but it takes forethought and business acumen to run a successful food start-up. Knowing this and setting healthy expectations is vital. Taking time to do some foundational planning will put you miles ahead of others who start their concepts on a whim.

    Remember we’re here to help and in the 4 Rookie Mistakes PDF we talk specifically about when to, and how to, hire your first employee which will keep you focused on your strengths and let’s someone else pick up the rest.

     

    Myth #4: I’ll find a couple farmers markets to sell at and be off to the races

    Let me start by saying the resurgence of farmers markets in the last decade is proof-positive that consumers want local, fresh and artisan products over store bought commodities. This bodes well for aspiring foodprenuers for sure!

    Chances are good that attending your local farmers market is part of your inspiration to stake your claim in the food industry.

    The rub is that the explosive growth of farmers markets has been met with a panoply of new market ready food businesses and you’ll find most established markets at, or close to capacity.

    Point being, getting the green light to set up at your local farmers market might be more challenging than you anticipate. If there is an established vendor in your food category the chances of the market manager giving you a shot are next to nil.

    There is hope however and I’ve seen many upstart foodpreneurs break into markets I thought were closed up tighter than Fort Knox. Here is how they did it.

    1. Try to put a new spin on an existing category: Can you be “local”, “organic”, “hand-made”, “gluten-free”, etc. where the established brand is not. Sometimes the market manager just needs a valid argument for letting you in so as to not piss off their established vendor. Make it easy for them. Figure out just how different your concept really is from what they already have and pitch them.

    2.  Start by setting up at any place that will let you. Outside a popular coffee shop that doesn’t sell your type of product, at your local church or club, one off festivals and civic events. These pop-ups will help you hone your craft and build your audience. It also gives you time to get your visual merchandizing and branding down.

    3.  Be willing to drive out of the city and serve some of the outer lying or brand new markets that are eager to have new merchants join their ranks. In many cases you’ll be doing them a favor and in turn they’ll be willing to put in a good word testimonial for your when you try to break into a more established market in the city core.

    Think about getting into your first major farmers market like trying to get a date with someone you really admire. You’ve heard the term that in dating and marriage someone is usually a reacher and someone a settler. We can admit that as a start-up you are the reacher. So…the goal with your pop-ups is to build some stories of success, a track record of social media posts full of the smiling faces of happy customers and some testimonials from the business owners who testify that your presence at their shop or market brought in more business.

    Your goal in the first few months should be to close the “reacher/settler” gap as much as possible. As a market manager my ideal tenant has an existing customer base, even if it’s just a few hundred fans on social media and on their e-mail list. This gives me confidence that they will at least be bringing something to the picnic and not just sucking at the umbilical chord of our established customer base.

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    Last thing to mention about getting a farmers markets: Even if you are a cottage food business many markets will require that you be licensed and a carry insurance regardless of your business status. I break this down in the bonus materials so check that out if you want to keep the research road trip rolling.

    The goal of this and other posts is to help you sidestep the countless pitfalls that make starting a food business a disaster and instead lead you toward foodpreneur success.

    I’ve been working in this industry for more than a decade and I’ve seen MANY mistakes along the way. The bonus list of rookie mistakes I’ve created will serve like a food business success GPS system helping you avoid the pitfalls many others have fallen. Click here to get it now!

     

     

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  2. Inspiration from a fellow farmpreneur – Jean Martin “The Market Gardener”

    To dream up East End Market we pulled inspiration from many of the North America’s best markets and food hubs. My urban farming ventures have taken much the same path.

    Jean-Martin Fortier - smiling I recently took a trip to Toronto to meet an inspiring farmpreneur named Jean Martin Fortier, aka The Market Gardener, in hopes of learning a few new techniques.

    The two workshops I attended put on by FarmStart.ca were incredibly inspiring.  First of all to be surrounded by 60+ fellow and future farmers all focussed on learning to grow sustainably and profitablly was a powerful experience.  Second, Jean-Martin was a refreshingly affaable and informative presenter.  Through a miraid of pictures and stoires, he walked us through his own decade-long farming journey.

    [do action=”button” linkurl=”https://eastendmkt.com/gardening/jean-martin/”_self”]Read More![/do]

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  3. Make your Money Count

    The Audubon Park Community Market has been occurring every Monday since 2009. Market Director Gabby Lothrop ensures that the market offers only the finest of foods that have been grown, raised, caught, or carefully made right here in Florida, emphasizing freshness and encouraging sustainable practices through touring each farm or facility.

    If you have had a chance to visit, you have experienced how this gathering transforms a parking lot into a celebration with all of the sights, smells and sounds of a lively community. While the market has an obvious impact on the community’s wellbeing, we wanted to know the less obvious impacts of the market on the local economy. With Market Umbrella‘s SEED (Sticky Economy Evaluation Device) Study, we were able to measure the financial impact of the Audubon Park Community Market on the vendors, local businesses and the greater municipality. 

    In October and November of 2012, A Local Folkus and some helpful volunteers completed two nights of surveying market goers about their spending habits.  Taking the average of the two reports, we found how much money is spent on average at the market and at nearby businesses. Using those numbers, the SEED measurement tool determines the impact of successive rounds of re-spending the initial dollars within a region, or the multiplier effect. The larger the multiplier, the “stickier” the economy. See how the market is impacting our region’s economic development below! Click the image to enlarge.

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  4. East End Market Pops Up in Winter Park

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    The Winter Park YMCA and East End Market are partnering to help you commit to getting fit by making local groceries more convenient to bring home! Every Tuesday from 9am – Noon, we will set up a mini-market at the YMCA to showcase our merchants’ products. From produce and organic juices to provisions and fresh-cut flowers, you’ll be able to find it there!

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    Moreover, you’ll get to meet some of the talented merchants coming to East End Market and learn more about their products and how to prepare them at home. So, lace up and race down to the YMCA every Thursday morning to stock up on some fresh goods, and squeeze in some time at the gym!

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    Note: You do not need to be a member of the YMCA to visit the market.

    YMCA address: 1201 N Lakemont Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789