The Niche Farm – Experiences Selling to A Diversity of Market Streams Without a Diversity of Crops – Episode 4

When you think about what your selling, don’t forget that what you are selling isn’t just what’s in the cooler behind your booth.

You’re selling yourself, your story, and the role that you play in a bigger movement; all intangible assets that can allow you to succeed without having a diversity of products.

But if you want to grow, and you don’t have more products to sell to customers, then you need to find more customers, and that likely means diversifying beyond the farmers market.

That’s the subject of today’s show where farmers market is one of the market streams that we dig into as Chris talks about his experiences selling to a diversity of market streams without a diversity of crops.

Notes from the interview with Chris Thoreau

  • Selling at a Farmers Market:
    • Sell at a premium price
    • You get to engage with customer face to face
      • Get real time feedback
      • Able to educate and market the product to a person face to face
    • Requires a lot of labor
    • More packaging of smaller packages
    • Fluctuate seasonally
    • You will be paying a stall fee
  • “Because we have a lack of diversity in crops, we make up for that by having a diversity in customers.”
  • Chris’s Customer Base:
    • 25% – Farmers Markets
    • 25% – Restaurants
    • 25-40% – Grocers
    • Balance – Misc – Home delivery, catering.
  • Grocers:
    • Will be marketing it up, so need to keep prices lower, but they will do volume with low effort.
    • Might require you to be more of price taker than a price maker.
  • How he started at the market?
    • Grew a good product.
    • Had a story – came to market by bike.
    • Trendy time for urban agriculture in Vancouver.
    • He has some previous market experience.
      • Knew how to present himself and his product.
      • Had a passion for his product.
      • Knew how to interact with the customer.
    • Tried to draw people into his booth.
      • Creating some action at the booth.
    • “People come to buy the package”
  • How you harvest, handle and store the harvested product will have a huge impact on shelf life of that product.

“People come to buy the whole package.”Chris Thoreau


Previous Episodes with Chris:

About Chris Thoreau

Chris Thoreau has been engaged in urban food production since 2001 as a farmer, educator, community organizer, and advocate. Chris now is one of the farmer owners of the Vancouver Food Pedaler’s Cooperative.

Since 2008 Chris has been based in Vancouver, BC where he attended the University of British Columbia’s Agroecology program. He received his BSc. (Hons) in 2011 after focusing his studies on urban farming, soil management, and small-scale plant breeding.

Prior to his time in Vancouver Chris operated a certified organic farm in Victoria, BC for six years. While in Victoria he also served on the local certifying body’s (Islands Organic Producers Association) Board of Directors and Certification Committee for two years.

When he isn’t obsessing over seeds, soil, and harvests Chris spends most of his time with his four-year-old son doing everything from soccer to skating, running to wall climbing, and reading to wrestling!

Curtis Stone interviews Chris Thoreau at his Vancouver microgreen farm

Interested in growing microgreens profitably as a business?

Then check out microgreen grower Chris Thoreau’s online course


Don’t have a lot of land?

Looking to make a living farming?

Microgreens might be a great place to start…

Microgreens are high value crop that can be growing intensively in a very small space with some crops selling upwards of $50 per pound.

It’s totally possible and it is being done everyday.

Microgreen grower Chris Thoreau generates over $200,000 per year in this space…

Microgreens - Fitting a lot of product into a small space.

Learn more about Chris’s online microgreen course

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