Hey y’all, I am gonna let you in on a little secret….
But first I need to ask you a question.
Do you know where those fruit and veggie stands you see on the side of the road get all their produce to sell?
Well I do! And the answer is … wherever they can get it.
Most of the time, they grow a lot of it themselves, but almost all of them supplement their bounty with produce from other places. The stuff they fly through the fastest is the organic, local, and freshly picked fruits and veggies. Remember those words please.
If they don’t grow it themselves, they have to order it from other places, and that’s not local…. or freshly picked. But they have to do it, because they need consistent product for their customers.
So here is the secret ….
Those produce stands WANT to sell your stuff! It’s local, and freshly picked, and maybe even organic. They just don’t know how to find you because your not a company and you don’t advertise your garden obviously. So you have to go to them. I have tried this three times now, and they all said heck yes! Here is roughly how the conversation goes:
Me: Hi there! So I really love to garden and I grow a lot of really cool stuff. I hate to see any of it go to waste so I was wondering if I could sell you guys some of my (here is the important part) freshly picked, organic ___________(fill in the blank with some of the things you grow). I just live ______ miles down the road from here (local).
Them: Heck yes! When can you bring it over?
Then we jabber for awhile about how business is going, and about strange fruits and vegetables, and about all the people who have ripped them off with crappy produce.
This goes even better if you have a box of beautiful fresh produce in your car waiting for that part of the conversation.
It’s that simple people! Now instead of leaving your extra zucchini on the side of your garden to rot, yes I have done it too, you get to make money off it!
Here are just a few things to remember when selling your produce to a stand ….
- They are putting their name on it, so you need to bring good stuff. If you don’t, they will likely quit buying from you. Nothing shriveled, heavily discolored, or beat up.
- Discuss a few things up front with them like how much produce you expect to bring them, what they would like you to bring it in (box, bag, or maybe they don’t care), how often you think you will be dropping stuff off and what days and times are best for that. Then there won’t be miscommunication issues later on that cause hard feelings. This is still business, even if your only dealing with 5 or 10 bucks. You can ask about money if you want but I have found that it’s best to do that when you bring your produce so they can see it and determine what it’s worth to them.
- Another awesome option is trading. You can always ask about swapping produce instead of selling it and sometimes you benefit even more.
- Above all else, be super nice and honest. One time, at the end of the harvest season I discovered I had been paid too much for my produce. Even though it was only $12, I took it back to the guy and left him a little note about it because he wasn’t there. Since then, almost every time I bring him stuff, he showers me with other produce that he has. I end up going home with more then I brought. Also, he told me I can sell my produce at his stand for as long as I want. Well that sounds pretty great to me.
The first summer I tried this, I think I made $80. That’s not a lot of money but hey, I wasn’t lying when I said I hate to see things go to waste. The satisfaction came in knowing I wasn’t growing produce for nothing, and that it was getting used.
So next time you pass the produce stand by your house, pull over, take a deep breath, and just talk to them about it. I bet they say HECK YES!
*If this all sounds WAY to forward to you, and your more of the -make sure they are going to say yes before I ask the question- type, then check out my new post on building a relationship with the fruit stand so they will sell your produce for you. It will tell you how to do it in a way that is slightly less -jump in head first-.
Anyone already selling to a produce stand? Am I missing anything?