As it was early in the season, there wasn’t a lot of ready-to-eat fruits and veggies, but there was a great deal of potted plants, herbs, lettuces, some rhubarb, and a good collection of meats, cheeses, and breads, plus some fish, chocolate and even soap. A chalkboard at the entrance lists what’s on each day. I picked up some smoked sable (the fish, not the rodent!) from Nantucket Wild Gourmet & Smokehouse, and then got a lime-poppy cake and something called a cheddar snail at an unmarked bakery stand.
Since I’ve eaten all these goodies before having a chance to photograph them, I’ll take a moment to offer up some unasked-for advice to people running farm market stalls: it’s a marketing opportunity. Compare these two experiences…
1. Hi Rise Bread Co.
This is a pretty well-known bakery cafe in West Cambridge, but that shouldn’t let them off the hook for having no website (that I could find), no signage at their farm stand, and no takeaway material at all – no brochures, no business cards, no paper bags with their logo and address on them, nothing. Bummer.
2. Nantucket Wild Gourmet & Smokehouse
These folks have their act together, which is important because their farm stand is just about their only retail outlet beyond Nantucket. They had clear signage, business cards with their website on them, and packaging with all the vital info on it.
I don’t expect farmers and small producers to have fancy marketing – although many do – but I want them to succeed, and that takes some attention to the basics. So next time you buy some local produce or something at a farm market, ask for a business card or brochure to share with your friends and see what happens. And if you get one, be sure to actually share it.