For small farms, selling at your local farmer’s market is the best way to not only make a decent paycheck for your labor, but also to get the word out about your farm! However, if you go there with the same things as everyone else, then you may have trouble attracting people to your stall.
Plus, while you may find that while you don’t turn any heads with plain old apples and strawberries, you might with something a little more interesting. By adding just a little more work to turn your harvest into something unique, you can triple your profits on those items! Here are 30 ideas for best selling items at markets.
PS. Make sure that you check your local cottage food laws before selling. Some places are more strict about prepared foods, and you may need special permission to sell things like milk, cheese, or even some jams and jellies at your stall, so do your research!
While selling fruit may net you a small profit. You may actually find that selling the seedlings so that people can try their hand at growing their own stuff is much more profitable. This is particularly true for harder to find herbs, or niche items like wheat grass. However, people also love to buy strawberry plants, blueberry bushes, and seedling fruit trees!
How much you can sell these for will depend on the plant variety and your competition. However, trees in particular can be quite profitable, netting you a tidy sum per acre. Dwarf fruit trees for backyards are always in-demand, and with a bit of planning, you can off-load them for a pretty penny at markets if you do your homework.
Though, even if you don’t have the space for a tree farm, the staples still sell well. Think fresh herbs, tomatoes, strawberry plants, cucumbers, watermelons, etc. You can even turn a nice profit selling seasonal ornamental plants for landscaping if you make the right picks.
2.) Homemade soaps and cosmetics
Like making your own soaps, lip balms, and lotions? Well, people will buy those from you as well! People everywhere are looking to get away from mass manufactured goods with harmful ingredients that are bad for people and the environment. If you’ve got an attractive alternative, that could mean cash for your farm.
3.) Beeswax candles
Have a few hives on your farm? If not, you might want to get some! Not only are bees fantastic low maintenance farm animals, but people love natural beeswax products. Beeswax candles are not difficult to make, and they’re a great “value added” profit generator for your farm. You can even make some festive holiday candles to get gift sales during Christmas time!
Even if you don’t feel like making the candles yourself, you can still sell the wax to other crafters! Tons of people uses beeswax for candles and cosmetics, and you can sell it to them in bulk quantities per pound. In fact, this one might be even better than making it into candles yourself. After your honey harvest, spend a bit of time to form the beeswax into one pound chunks and sell it for $10 per pound to get a bit more profit.
Honey is always a crowd pleaser, especially if you can provide harder to get varieties that stores don’t stock. Most groceries stores only have basic clover honey, so other flavors like orange blossom or sourwood will be fast sellers. Farm raised local honey can fetch $10-$12 per pound, or even $15-$20 for 12 ounces of comb honey!
6.) Duck eggs
If you fancy raising some ducks, then you might be surprised to find that their eggs sell for a lot of money. The profit margin for these is much higher than for chickens, and if you get a breed like the Khaki Campbell, which lays 300 eggs per year, you’ll be in business! Bakers adore duck eggs, which turn baked goods into rich and tasty delicacies.
7.) Caramel and candied apples
Looking for an attractive impulse buy that can up your farm’s profits? Candied and caramel apples are easy and attractive fall treats that people love. Kids can eat them while running around the market, and you’ll get a nice boost to your daily profits. Not only are they dead easy and cheap to make, but it makes your stall look more festive!
8.) Homemade BBQ sauces
Do you have the best BBQ sauce recipe in town? Bottle it up and give everybody a taste! Homemade sauces can be hot sellers, and they last longer than your typical market fare. That means you don’t have to worry about spoilage, and it’s a good way to get rid of tomatoes before they go off. People love secret recipes, and if your sauce is the best, they’ll be sure to tell everyone where to get it.
9.) Cookies, muffins, and other baked goods
Are you a baking wiz? Baked goods are cheap to make in large batches, but they can bring big profits if you’re willing to put in the time. Not everyone is a good baker, and they’ll be happy to bring home your tasty cookies, muffins, brownies and more.
In most places, cottage food laws will likely apply. However, you should make sure to check the laws in your state carefully! There are some food operations that do not need permits, but that usually depends on what you are selling.
Everyone loves fresh baked bread. If you’ve got some interesting recipes, then you could sell some fresh bread to people who are out to pick up their eggs and other breakfast items. Ingredients are cheap, but labor can be kind of intensive for this one. Important to know if you’ve never baked at scale before.
Interested in learning to grow mushrooms? If you are, then you could turn a nice profit, especially if you sell something that can’t be purchased at the local grocery store. Many stores only have your basic white or portabella mushrooms, which leaves people hunting all over for harder to find types like oyster and shiitake.
Mushrooms can command a high price tag, and you can grow a lot of them in a limited amount of space if you have a mini farm. Plus, if you can provide these when others can’t, you’ll be likely to sell out.
12.) Cheese, yogurt, and butter
You’ll need to check your local laws to see if you can sell these things, but if you can, you could make a pretty penny. If you’ve got cows or goats that are putting out more milk than you can drink, turn it into tasty butter and cheese for the market. Goat milk products are hard to come by in super markets and they’re great for people with digestive issues! Once word is out about your stuff, these customers will happily buy up your locally produces milk, cheese, yogurts, etc.
However, cottage food laws likely do not apply here! You will most likely need access to a commercial kitchen in order to sell milk based products at a farmer’s market. Check your local laws carefully before you proceed on this one.
13.) Candy and fudge
Everyone loves candy, but most people don’t know how to make it themselves. They’ll be quick to pick up homemade goat’s milk fudge if you can provide it. It’s also a good way to turn a typically difficult to sell item due to restrictions (goat’s milk) into something you can more easily distribute.
PS. Don’t forget to make special bundles for holidays! Pre-packed fudge in cute tins or boxes for Christmas or Valentines gifts could be a big seller for you. It’s a great impulse buy for people who may have forgotten an occasion too. (oops!)
14.) Raw milk
Your ability to sell raw milk will depend heavily upon your local rules and regulations. However, there is a huge demand for it from people and it will sell well. Especially goat’s milk, because most of the goat milk at the store is not fresh, and it gives it an off taste. Some people get around these restrictions by selling it for “animal consumption”. What customers do with it after that is not your business. ; )
15.) Fruit leather
Looking for a new way to add value to a plentiful fruit harvest or get rid of fruit before it goes bad? You could turn it into tasty fruit leather for a unique product to sell. Fruit leather is basically akin to homemade fruit by the foot, but better, and you can make it out of many different fruits from strawberries, plums, peaches, apples, etc. It’s a tasty and unique item that not everyone will be selling.
16.) Hand-made Knitted Items
Are you crafty? If so, you can sell homemade knitted or sewn items at your booth. Think mittens, beanies, caps, holiday pot holders, and aprons! These are cute impulse buys that can make your booth stand out in the crowd of others hocking their own wares.
17.) Cut Flowers
While flowers are typically a seasonal item, around Valentine’s day or Mother’s day you could make a pretty penny on bouquets. If you’ve got a green thumb, this is an easy to grow product that will offer a high profit margin. If you’re good at arrangements, you could even offer to make a custom one on the spot for a special occasion or gift.
PS. You can also sell potted flowers too, because some people prefer live plant gifts!
18.) Christmas/Holiday ornaments
Going to the farmer’s market is a fun activity for families! You can make that a more festive event and gain attention for your stand this holiday season by offering ornaments. You can hand paint glass ornaments, or even weave some pretty holiday wreathes. This can add a surprising boost to your holiday income.
Not sure what to put on your ornaments? You can stick to holiday staples like snowmen and Santa, or you can try adding some hometown flare. People love to show appreciation for their town or state!
19.) Hatching eggs or chicks
While selling eggs can earn you some money, selling hatching eggs or chicks can earn you more. Everyone wants their own backyard chickens or ducks, and a hatching dozen could net you $40 for some breeds! This works best if you choose to raise heritage breeds which are harder to find in your area. Avoid mutt or mixed chickens and ducks, because they aren’t as valuable.
20.) Homemade apple sauce
Have your trees produced more apples than you can sell? Well, get busy canning, and you can add some tasty apple sauce to your farm stand. Not only does this help you to keep produce from going to waste, but it also allows you to sell your apples year round since it’s preserved.
It’s another great value added product – especially if you make something you can’t get in the grocery stores. This could mean a healthier version with less junk in it, or unusual combinations and flavors you can’t get anywhere else.
21.) Farm grown meats
Okay, this one will not be do-able for everyone. However, in some cases, if you have your meat processed by a butcher at a USDA approved facility, you can sell it at the farmer’s market. Don’t try to butcher your own meat at home, because this is not legal. All meat is governed by the USDA to prevent food borne illness, and approved butchers will be able to label it as such. However, if you do the math and it works out, then you’ll be able to sell something that most people can’t, and that could bring you some profits if you’ve got some good meat to sell.
22.) Mealworms and earth worms
Have you thought about selling creepy crawlies at your farm stand? People use mealworms to feed a variety of pets like chickens, small birds, fish, turtles, and more. Earth worms are popular for fishing and for adding to your garden, and you might be surprised how many people want to buy them. Plus, it’s dead easy to raise both of these.
23.) Vintage or re-sale items
Not all farmer’s markets allow this, but if yours does, then these are easy, no work required items to add to your booth. Think re-usable shopping bags, cute kitchen stuff, or even vintage cookie cutters, rolling pins, and other things you get at thrift stores and can resell.
24.) Sell animals for pets
You may or may not be able to sell small animals for pets at your local farmer’s market, but you can most certainly put up advertisements at your booth to do so. It’s a good way to let people know about animals you might be selling, and if you live in an area where people have sizable properties, then it could be a good move. Chicks, rabbits, puppies, goats, and even miniature fluffy cows are fair game, and if you enjoy raising animals, then you could make some profit from selling them as pets rather than food.
In fact, you could actually make a lot more selling pets than food. Fancy breeds of goats can earn you $250 each, and mini cows can run $1,800 – $5,000 depending on the coloration and breed.
25.) Homemade Pickles
Cucumbers grow like weeds, and you may soon find that you’re overwhelmed with them. If this is the case, then you might consider pickling them. This preserves your harvest, and good fresh pickles are a fantastic value added item. Everyone loves a good crunchy pickle.
26.) Spun and dyed wool
If you’ve been raising sheep, then you could sell your wool to crafters. Attractive dyed yarn that has been humanely raised is a good sell in many communities. Not exactly an easy product to produce, but definitely a valuable one.
27.) Homemade nut butters
The equipment required to make nut butters isn’t tough to get, and if you already have a nice almond tree that is producing on your property, then that’s one more easy crop to add to your farm’s bottom line. Try making fancier mixes, like ones with honey for even more profits.
28.) Gourmet dog treats
Making dog treats is easy, and more and more people are looking for all-natural and healthy treats for their dogs. You can easily sell some healthy food for pups and make a pretty penny doing it!
PS. Don’t forget about specialty treats! Many dogs actually are allergic to a lot of commercial treats. Making treats which don’t contain common allergens could be a big seller with people who have sensitive pets.
29.) Canned pasta sauces
Did your granny pass down the best homemade sauce recipe ever? Well, it’s time to package it up and give everyone else a taste! Good sauce is a big seller, and it’s a great value added item if you’ve gotten a bumper tomato crop this year. Grocery store sauces are boring! Make something that’s truly delicious and people will come back to get it every season.
30.) Made to order food
You’ll need to do some research to see what’s legal here, but people walking around the farmer’s market get hungry! You could make some stuff to order to sell to them to eat while they shop like hot dogs, nachos, tacos, cotton candy, ice cream lemonade, or popcorn.
A lot of this stuff is super easy and does not take a lot of equipment either! Though you will need to likely have some kind of food permit from your state or county in order to sell made to order products like this. So, do your research.
31.) Holiday Wreaths
Feeling crafty? If you’ve got an abundance of natural materials on your homestead, then you could try making some holiday wreaths. While Christmas is the most notable “wreath occassion”, people buy decorative and festive wreaths for all kinds of holidays. This includes Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving, etc.
32.) Fresh Squeezed Juice
All-natural juice is also a great item. At the grocery store, most juices are either from concentrates or just watered down beyond belief! Fortunately, that gives you a great opportunity to sell real, farm-fresh juice if you live in the appropriate climate. While warmer states are the best place for this, having an abundance of oranges and lemons, you can still make some great juices in colder states. Apple cider is also a big seller, and has a much broader growing area.
33.) Seasoning Blends
If you’ve grown a nice crop of herbs but you couldn’t unload them, try turning them into a value added product. You can use your dried and preserved herbs to make highly desirable seasoning blends. Create something unique and market your herbs year round, even when it’s snowy outside. (Lovely holiday blends for roasted turkeys and chickens might be a good idea!)
Tanya, both a nurturing stay-at-home mom and a skilled crafter, is the creative force behind our blog. As the co-founder of Romney Ridge Farms & Crafts, she’s the editor and curator. She also runs the Romney Ridge Farms & Crafts social media accounts where we post new patterns for you to enjoy.