I'm coming up on one year on my beloved piece of (rented) land and I've been thinking about building a little farm stand. I'd love to hear some of your experiences with this... building plans? does and don'ts? etc. I'm hoping to sell my excess veggies, processed and fermented goods, dried herbs, seeds (from my garden, woohoo!) and some herbal medicine (tinctures, salves, etc...)
Any and all information would be so much appreciated!
"There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth."
anywho i love the idea of starting a farm stand, best of luck to you.
i figured i would add that recently, as of the last couple of years, california made a new set of laws making it MUCH easier to legally do small farm stands and be exempt from a lot of silly and unreasonable laws that were previously in place. heres hoping this will encourage more people to do small businesses selling their produce and other products made in small kitchens, without requiring huge commercial ovens and etc.
I know about (and am very fond of) the new cottage food act. I actually just started my own business using a rentable grange kitchen, however, and it's working out great! As I understand the cottage food law it more applies to things like baked bread or cookies, less 'high risk' (if you will...) foods.
My (soon to be) farm stand will be on a private road and I'm a state certified producer so I'm less worried about the regulations and more concerned about building a structure that will be covering all my bases and also interested in knowing whether others have had success with an idea like this or have any comments on selling in this way.
I decided to try this for two main reasons. The first is that I want to help bring our small community in even closer, to make us all more locally oriented and sustainable. Why make all of my neighbors drive in to get their produce in town when I have everything we need and more right here? The second was as I was thinking about where I want to put my time and energy. I could drive in to market, sell for a couple of hours and come home... Or I could harvest every morning, sell all day at an unattended stand, and have my days free to keep myself busy in the garden and on my other business. I'd much rather put my time and energy back into the land than in sitting at a market (although I have sold at markets in the past and had a blast doing it!)
I'm not sure how much to expect to sell. I'm going to start harvesting small and work my way up as I know there is a demand. To give you an idea I think that I may be serving anywhere from 5- 50 people... who knows.
I think the stand, just based on the materials I have around, will probably be about 2 feet deep and 4 feet wide, possibly with a swing down shelf which could be pulled up at night when we're closed. It would be nice to expand later if it goes well...
Don't think we'll make it portable... Just gonna close her up at night.
It would be really awesome to build in a nook for a fridge... although that may be down the road. For now I think I may just use a good ol' cooler in the shade with some ice packs in it to keep certain things fresh. As (if) it works I'm hoping to reinvest the money I make to improve the stand.
There is some sun so I'll definitely need a roof or something to keep it shady. The other sticky part is that I live on a dirt road and and I'm planning on putting the stand near the road to make it accessible. I'm a bit worried about dust.
I'm going leave it to the honor system and good faith in my neighbors. However, having a hidden box for the money, maybe even that's connected to the stand so it can't just be taken, would be a good idea.
I was also thinking, if anyone has pictures of their farm stand, oh boy I'd love to see it!
"There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the earth."
Angelika Maier wrote:As a consumer I would say clear visible prices, I hate to ask!
I agree. I've always wondered if the price is the same for somebody with a denim bag as it is for the lady with a Gucci purse. Whenever I don't see prices, I assume that they fluctuate at the whim of the seller. I usually won't ask, as somebody at another stand will have their prices posted, and that is where I will buy.
Beyond the laws and regulations of the State of California, you might want to touch base with your county folks (or even municipal folks) to see if there are any restrictions or parameters for a retail function where you're planning to have it. Our zoning laws where I'm at won't allow a farm stand nor would it allow a structure near enough to the road to a make it visible to motorists or others on the road. Some folks are of the "do it and don't ask questions" approach to civic regulations. I'm more of the "ask first before I build and waste time and resources" should it not be allowed. For our area, the county restrictions are more limiting than the state.
There is a related article to an honor system coffee shop in this article and they collect about 15% more than charged. So, if you have a farm stand then maybe you want to put a Keurig machine in it too!
My mother in law did an honor system cafe. It worked well EXCEPT for pricing. You need to have your prices SIMPLE and easy to get to $5 or $10 amounts. $1 ea, 6 for $5 or similar. You want them to round up to what they have for cash instead of having to make change or just not buy.
"You must be the change you want to see in the world." "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Mahatma Gandhi
"Preach the Gospel always, and if necessary, use words." --Francis of Assisi.
"Family farms work when the whole family works the farm." -- Adam Klaus
A "dutch baby" is not a baby. But this tiny ad is baby sized: