Ronnie Best, manager of the State Farmers’ Market in Raleigh has been at the market for quite some time, and has seen many changes in how farmers market their products in terms of adding value to attract and keep more customers:
“When I first came here they were still backing their pick up trucks up into the building and leaving at the end of the day. Today, the stands are set up through the growing season, some are here over the winter. You used to not see corn shucked before it was sold, or peas shelled before they were sold. The farmers now are selling more shelled products than they ever have before.
There are a lot more value added products. Like a peach grower wants to sell his peach ice cream. We don’t have a lot of room for the extras here, but we do see them. We feel that the farmers area is more of a fresh local area, and we think that the maybe the value added products might be better in the market shops. But the trend is for it to be at the stand. We spent a lot of money adding electricity to the building to accommodate that.
The value added products are very creative. We want to try to make sure that the products you buy here are coming from that farmer’s field. It gets more difficult the more value added you go.
The value added products are helping the famers to stay in business and our visitor boom can be attributed to these. Our customers work hard and want to be able to take home great products.”
North Carolina has five state-owned farmer’s markets, South Carolina has three.