Blog entries by Tom Roberts

About Tom Roberts

When I started attending the Brewer Farmers’ Market back in August of 1983, my sole concern was being able to sell the produce my farm was growing at a good price. After attending market for a year or two, I began to realize that how the market was organized had a great impact on my sales. And how the market was organized also influenced how it made decisions about dues, new members, what could be sold at market, and how it promoted itself—and this, too, had an impact on my sales. So I got involved in the market’s steering committee and began to understand how various market members thought the market should operate. Some wanted a market czar, some wanted everyone to be allowed to do their own thing. But everyone seemed to agree that if the market as a whole did well, then so did they.

Marrying CSA to farmers’ market

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A debit-type CSA works well at farmers’ market I have attended farmers’ markets since 1983, yet the whole idea of a CSA has always fascinated me as a practical method to market my farm’s produce. Having customers get a box of food each week that they paid for at the beginning of the season seemed […]

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The Shō of Market

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In many Japanese martial arts, there is a differentiation between the SHŌ (say ‘show’) of the art and the DŌ (say ‘dough’) of the art. Basically, the DŌ is the functional part of the art, how to make the movements and what they are useful for, both in terms of spiritual centering and self-defense. On […]

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Setting prices synthetically rather than analytically

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Analysis tries to understand things by breaking them down into their components. Synthesis tries to understand a thing by combining and processing information in its surroundings. Do you determine your prices by building them up from their component costs? Or do you look at how your prices will fit into the entire market ecology that […]

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Videos to learn from

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Videos about farmers’ markets, small scale food production and the new economy arising around these. Video Series on subjects of interest to farmers’ markets. Farmers’ Market Management Video FAQ series, from the Farmers’ Market Coalition Growing Fresh Food series, from Cooking Up a Story. Peak Moment TV, “Locally reliant living for challenging times.” Although the website sells DVDs […]

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Marketing advice to beginning farmers

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Don’t put all your eggs in one marketing basket. There are many places that today’s small farm can sell their productions. You might try an on-farm CSA, sell to your local food buying club, a multi-farm CSA or a Food Hub, grow for a string of retailers and/or restaurants, or sell to a wholesaler or […]

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Who says, “Eggs is eggs?”

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That was my response in 1987 when a customer remarked that my eggs were too expensive; that supermarket eggs were less than a dollar a dozen, and that, after all, “eggs is eggs.” I marveled at the wisdom embedded in this homily, not for its truth, but for the comfort it provided the speaker when […]

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To tent or not to tent

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I’ve been offered a raincoat more than once while setting up on a rainy morn. Many market members protect their stands with some kind of sun and rain protection, or “tents” as they are generically referred to. You may be using one, or you may be considering getting one. For five years I set up […]

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