Farmers markets have enjoyed a renaissance of renewed energy for the past several years. For small producers, farmers markets may represent one of the best markets available for selling their products. It may also be the best way to advertise products and build a local customer base. If consumers like your product and know where you produce it, they are more likely to purchase your product direct from your farm.
Many communities have come to realize that strong farmers markets attracts local tourism and have built new facilities or upgraded old ones in order to attract crowds of people to urban areas. Give credit to the state of New York - they've found farmers markets so important that they are giving grants to the construction, reconstruction, improvement, expansion, or rehabilitation of farmer's markets in their state!
And just look at the number of festivals, fairs and cook-offs that have grown into huge events. That's no accident - cities and towns know that these festivals get people involved in their community and bring extra cash flow. Although many of these festivals are held only once a year and are not a consistent market for products you produce daily or weekly, they still represent a great opportunity to showcase your business and advertise.
Before you start your enterprise, check out the local markets. If you don't have one locally, is there enough of a draw to start one?
What about a festival? If you are going to produce specialty products, you should work your hardest at marketing them and farmers markets, fairs and festivals are a good place to start. Check with your local city commission who'd love to have thousands of people coming into town for an annual festival.