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4 Things to Remember for Winter Market Season

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People walk through an outdoor market in cold weather wearing jackets and vests, browsing stacks of produce.

Last Updated: 12/01/2023

This may come as a surprise, but winter is one of the best times to sell your food at markets. Even in colder climates, people are constantly out and about, whether they’re shopping in December or playing in the snow during January and February. 

No matter what brings them out of the house, one thing’s for sure: they’re going to be hungry. 

While many people think of farmers markets as a spring or summertime occurrence, there are plenty of winter and year-round markets across the country that allow you to continue selling your food no matter the season.

Before you start vending at these markets, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to set yourself up for success. Today, we’ll be walking through the four most important things to remember for winter farmers market season so you can ensure you’re properly prepared. 

1. Spread the Word

Because many people think of going to the farmers market as a seasonal activity, you’ll want to make sure your customers know you’ll be vending at a winter market. If your existing customers know you’ll be there, they’re more likely to come and support you.

There are a few ways to get the word out, but here are some tried-and-true methods you can use this season.

Announce It on Social Media

Use your business’ social media accounts to share that you’ll be attending a winter market. Include the winter farmers market hours, date(s), and location so customers know where to find you. It also helps to tag the official market social media accounts too.

To grab attention, try including this information in a graphic instead of only in a text post or caption. As people are scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, they’ll be more drawn to text overlaid on an image, which will increase the likelihood of them coming out to the market to visit your booth.

Create a Facebook Event 

Another great way to promote your presence at a winter market is to create a Facebook event with your business’ Facebook page and invite your followers to attend. They’ll receive a reminder about the event as the date approaches, but the event page is also a great place for you to share updates and reminders to keep it on everyone’s radar.

Email Your Customers

If you have a list of customers who receive emails from you, send them an email sharing which market you’ll be participating in and how they can find you, such as where the event is taking place and even where your booth will be. To entice them, include pictures of some of the food you will have available for purchase.

2. Offer Seasonal Specialties

Winter markets provide an amazing opportunity to try your hand at selling seasonal items. For farmers, that most likely means winter produce that wouldn’t normally be available throughout the rest of the year. If you’re a food vendor, try your hand at offering limited-time menu items made with seasonal ingredients.

Offering produce or items that you wouldn’t sell at spring or summer markets isn’t just a way for you to expand your repertoire—it’s also a fantastic method for enticing the customers who would normally stop by your booth during those warmer months. Special seasonal items can pique their curiosity and incentivize them to come see you.

You can also make winter farmers market recipe cards to hand out to customers with meal suggestions they can try out using produce they’ve purchased from your stand. This is a great way to engage with your customers while encouraging them to try some of your seasonal produce.

3. Gear Up for the Weather

While some winter markets are held indoors, others are still held outside, meaning you’ll need to come prepared with more than just the supplies you’d normally bring to a spring or summer market. 

Even if you don’t live in a particularly cold climate, standing outside at your booth for hours in the winter can get uncomfortable quickly if you don’t take the proper precautions. Beyond the usual fold-up chairs and pop-up tents you’re used to bringing, here’s a list of items you might want to pack with you this winter:

  • Portable heated seat
  • Wind-resistant blanket
  • Hand/toe warmers (disposable or USB rechargeable)
  • Thermos with a hot drink
  • Hand lotion or moisturizer

 

Don’t forget to layer up, either! Not only does layering help insulate you from the cold, but it also gives you the freedom to remove a layer if you start to get too warm.

Crowds of people walk between stalls at an outdoor winter market with string lights illuminating each stall.

4. Protect Your Business with Food Vendor Insurance

Taking part in a winter market can be great for your business, but as with any market there are always risks unique to farmers markets that could put your business’ finances and reputation in jeopardy. That’s why it’s important to have liability insurance before you start vending this season.

As a vendor at a winter market, you can be held liable for any illnesses, injuries, or damages that occur because of your operations. This could include:

  • A customer gets food poisoning from something you sold them
  • Someone passing by your booth trips over one of your storage containers and hurts themselves
  • Your booth scrapes the floor of the market venue and as a result the flooring needs to be repaired

 

Winter market food vendor insurance allows you to cook and serve food with peace of mind. Without insurance, you may be required to pay thousands of dollars to cover medical expenses, legal fees, and/or repairs completely out of pocket. 

In addition to shielding your business from expensive claims, many winter farmers markets require their vendors to provide proof of insurance on their vendor applications so they know they are protected from your liability. Having insurance at the ready will make the application process smoother and increase your likelihood of being accepted.

Whether you need farmers market insurance or coverage for food festivals, Food Liability Insurance Program (FLIP) has you covered with affordable options for you to choose from, starting at just $25.92 per month or $299 per year.

Stay Warm and Happy Selling!

Winter markets can be a great business opportunity for farmers or food vendors like yourself. Whether this will be your first or fiftieth time selling at a winter market, we hope these four tips will help you have a fun and successful season! 

BY ASHLEY BAKER

Ashley Baker writes about marketing, business, and insurance for small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Ashley is a former Licensed Massage Therapist. She has a background in writing for state political offices, newspapers and was the web editor for two regional magazine publications. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with her family, attending college football games or kayaking. Find Ashley on LinkedInInstagram, or Twitter.

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