Farmers Market First Meet Tricia Houston

Friends Drift Inn Farmers Market First!
Guest Post from Vendor Perspective

Tricia Houston Napolean Ridge Farm at Farmers Market

I first met Tricia through the Northern Kentucky Farmers Alliance get-together for community farmers in the Greater Cincinnati area. Her farm, Napolean Ridge is located not far from the site of the original Friends Drift Inn restaurant. Tricia came to Kentucky from up east, and is an active voice in sustainable agriculture. I am very jealous of Tricia, as she has 500 tomato plants; I only have about 150. Y’all make Tricia welcome at Friends Drift Inn.


Guest Post by Tricia Houston of
Napolean Ridge Farm and Nature Center

Tricia Houston of Napolean Ridge Farm
I wasn’t always a farmer. I am new to the business of farming, relatively speaking. And as with all professions, I am learning how to sell my products and market my farm, no small task. My favorite venue and one of the fastest growing places for consumers and farmers to make a connection, is the farmers market.

My farmers market, The Bellevue Farmers Market, is located at the very busy parking lot at The Party Source in Bellevue, KY. I moved here this year from another market I had been at for two years, one that I was involved in creating and running, but it just did not have some desirable traits I feel are important for a successful Farmers Market, and they are:

Location! Location! Location!

It is the dogma for the business world, and for good reason. If they can’t find you…if it takes them too long to get there…if the parking is a hassle or there is not enough, shoppers won’t be back.

Vendors

Rhoda shops Farmers Market First!

There has to be enough at the market to sell to satisfy consumer demand. If shoppers show up and there is constantly no product or little choice, they will eventually not return. It’s unfortunate that I have found that some farmers want no competition at market (i.e., I sell honey, so I don’t want other farmers that sell honey), not realizing that this is the sting of death to the market. Yes, that farmer may sell out of their honey, but without the availability of more honey choices, shoppers will seek venues that have more products and not return. The more the merrier, I say. If it keeps the consumers coming to farmers markets for their shopping before heading to a traditional grocery store because they can get most of their shopping done at farmers market, better yet.

Diversity

On the point above, I said that only having one honey farmer would not be wise. Nor would having 10 other honey farmers and nothing else be good for the market. An array of items for sale makes for the best draw, and best chances for a healthy, thriving market. My Farmers Market has a good mix of that: fire oven bread, gelato, fermented products, a large selection of meats, processed products like salsas and jams, an organic farmer and several certified naturally grown, an orchard, lots of varieties of well know and not so well know produce, garden and gardening related items, a winery, several farms that grow flowers. With all of that on hand, it makes for a great shopping experience, and increases the chances that the buyers will return.

I love my farmers market, and the interaction I get to have with the shoppers. I get to tell folks firsthand about my farm, answer their questions if they have them, let them sample my products; and best of all, see them return week after week for more.

For More Information about Tricia

Tricia Houston Napoleon Ridge Farm   123 Napoleon Ridge Road Napoleon, KY 41095

Phone 859-643-FARM Follow Napoleon Ridge Farm and Nature Center Facebook Community

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About Joyce

Joyce Friend Pinson is a regional farm-to-table columnist for the Appalachian-News Express. She is a local television host. Her column show and blog, Friends Drift Inn, explores food, gardening, and real life farm-to-table stories from the perspective of a baby boomer in Appalachia. Joyce has a background in agriculture, media, and small business. Joyce is an heirloom gardening addict and home canner. She has a penchant for big hats, pointy toed shoes, and bourbon. Along with her husband Charlie, Joyce really does live in a barn where they ballroom dance. And laugh. And cook. And giggle.