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Selling Chocolates at Shows and Farmers Markets


carol lang
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If you are handy, look into "peltier cooler" or "personal refrigerator".

peltier cooler is a solid state no-moving parts thermoelectric device that gives you cooling when powered by direct current.

They are not expensive, light weight and small. You can make yourself a clear plastic cover that's refrigerated.

check it out on eBay.

dcarch

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At my farmer's market I've been using flat freezer packs that work very well. They're gel filled like any other freezer pack, but they are rigid and about 10" X 15." I get them here (Atlantic Canada) at my local dollar store. I cover them with cloth napkins that complement my tablecloth, and use them for my cheesecakes and such.

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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How would a smaller wine cooler work? I'm concerned about heat displaying pieces out in the open but imagine I would not sell much if customers cannot see the pieces?

I simply don't have any more room to cart things around, and even a small cooler would be burden. Electricity can sometimes be a problem. I also want to make sure that people can clearly see what I'm offering. The pieces on display are tossed at the end of the market, so as long as they hold up just enough, I'm happy.

Steve Lebowitz

Doer of All Things

Steven Howard Confections

Slicing a warm slab of bacon is a lot like giving a ferret a shave. No matter how careful you are, somebody's going to get hurt - Alton Brown, "Good Eats"

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  • 1 year later...

I got a lot of good info from this thread last year, and am starting my second season at our Downtown Growers Market, so I'll chime in.

1. A Cambro or similar insulated sheet pan carrier is essential. Put a freeze-pak in it and your prodcut will stay cool all day.

2. NO DIRECT SUN - kinda obvious I guess

3. I use shallow hotel pans filled with ice or freeze paks to display my wares, putting the pieces on plates or doilies.

4. Sampling sells like nothing else - get it in their mouths and you probably have a sale. We all have "seconds" - cosmetic blemishes - that you can cut up fo samples. I get 8 pieces from a 0.5 oz truffle.

5. Hawk your wares - talk to the people as they go by - "Good morning - do you like chocolate?" "One piece will give you the energy to carry a whole bag of veggies..." If you just sit/stand there, people will just walk past.

6. Have a helper. Setting up by yourself at 6:30 am is bad enough, Tearing down at 12:00 after 5 hours on your feet is killer.

7. If the weather forecast is for 97F degrees or more, its Officially Too Hot For Chocolate. If they can't even get the product back to their cars, they won't buy, and your sales won't be enough to warrant the work. And you will fry.

8. Market sales are a great way to drive sales at your retail outlets (assuming you wholesale). Every time I do a market I get a number of people say " I saw your product at ......, but had never tried it. Now I will".

9. Give the little kids a price break - you're grooming future customers, and they'll bring their parents back next week.

10. Visit with the other vendors - You can barter chocolate fo all kinds of fresh market produce.

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  • 4 weeks later...

How is this years farmers markets working out for people? I'm just about to start a couple of different ones (1st time, so excited), any further advice from a few years worth of learning and hindsight?

How was your first market? I am getting ready to do my first. Really excited!

JB Chocolatier

www.jbchocolatier.com

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How is this years farmers markets working out for people? I'm just about to start a couple of different ones (1st time, so excited), any further advice from a few years worth of learning and hindsight?

How was your first market? I am getting ready to do my first. Really excited!

It was good, I was however battling the warm weather so not a huge amount of sales. I was however surprised at what sold and what didn't. I couldn't produce enough confit'd fruit (dipped in chocolate) to keep up demands.

Sian

"You can't buy happiness, but you can buy chocolate, and that's kinda the same thing really."

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How is this years farmers markets working out for people? I'm just about to start a couple of different ones (1st time, so excited), any further advice from a few years worth of learning and hindsight?

How was your first market? I am getting ready to do my first. Really excited!

It was good, I was however battling the warm weather so not a huge amount of sales. I was however surprised at what sold and what didn't. I couldn't produce enough confit'd fruit (dipped in chocolate) to keep up demands.

I'm glad it went well! I don't have the warm weather to battle with. This summer has been a cool one for us. Did you do one market? or are you doing them every week?

Jenny

JB Chocolatier

www.jbchocolatier.com

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How is this years farmers markets working out for people? I'm just about to start a couple of different ones (1st time, so excited), any further advice from a few years worth of learning and hindsight?

How was your first market? I am getting ready to do my first. Really excited!

It was good, I was however battling the warm weather so not a huge amount of sales. I was however surprised at what sold and what didn't. I couldn't produce enough confit'd fruit (dipped in chocolate) to keep up demands.

I'm glad it went well! I don't have the warm weather to battle with. This summer has been a cool one for us. Did you do one market? or are you doing them every week?

Jenny

This market is every other week, and I'll be doing another market on the intervening weeks while trying to stock pile solids for the Christmas rush. Let me know how it goes for you, when is your 1st market?

Sian

"You can't buy happiness, but you can buy chocolate, and that's kinda the same thing really."

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How is this years farmers markets working out for people? I'm just about to start a couple of different ones (1st time, so excited), any further advice from a few years worth of learning and hindsight?

How was your first market? I am getting ready to do my first. Really excited!

It was good, I was however battling the warm weather so not a huge amount of sales. I was however surprised at what sold and what didn't. I couldn't produce enough confit'd fruit (dipped in chocolate) to keep up demands.

I'm glad it went well! I don't have the warm weather to battle with. This summer has been a cool one for us. Did you do one market? or are you doing them every week?

Jenny

This market is every other week, and I'll be doing another market on the intervening weeks while trying to stock pile solids for the Christmas rush. Let me know how it goes for you, when is your 1st market?

My first market is on the August 10th and then another one on the 17th. Our outdoor markets close after that because it starts getting cold. If I like it I might do the Holiday bazaars. I am excited, but clueless about how much product to bring. I will post a pic of my booth after my first market.

Jenny

JB Chocolatier

www.jbchocolatier.com

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My first market is on the August 10th and then another one on the 17th. Our outdoor markets close after that because it starts getting cold. If I like it I might do the Holiday bazaars. I am excited, but clueless about how much product to bring. I will post a pic of my booth after my first market.

Jenny

Good luck, I found the most difficult part was trying to guess how much of everything to take, still judging it, I suppose you need to guess the weather better than I!

Sian

"You can't buy happiness, but you can buy chocolate, and that's kinda the same thing really."

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well my first market is under my belt. It was pretty slow, but I did better than most of the venders because I was new. It was a lot of work, but it was fun.

market.JPG

Edited by JenBunk (log)

JB Chocolatier

www.jbchocolatier.com

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Congratulations! In terms of purchases made, did you notice any patterns of preferences that might be useful to you in the future?

Yeah, I made little chocolate moose suckers for the kids and was surprised they were so popular. Only a couple were bought for kids and the rest were bought by the tourist:)

JB Chocolatier

www.jbchocolatier.com

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  • 10 months later...

Help please! I am participating in an outdoor festival early July. I sell chocolates and baked goods. Up to now, I have only done indoor craft fairs, etc. and have been using coolers to keep my chocolates and stuff cold. I will do the same at the outdoor festival but how can I best optimize use of my coolers? Do I have to have a Cambro or can I "get by" with coolers? What do I do about "extra" inventory that I want to keep especially fresh for purchases late in the day? Should I offer to keep purchased items cool at my booth while people do their additional shopping? Any tips would be appreciated. Thanks!

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I don't recall seeing a thread on baked goods, but, since most pastry isn't normally kept in a cold case (refrigeration makes crisp pastries soggy) you could probably get by with a cooler and gel packs for it.

I personally would not hold purchased items. You'll be held hostage when the time comes to leave if they don't return promptly.

Also, I used to work as a district manager for a famous specialty food company that has seasonal stores in malls. We had to implement a policy of 'no holds' because we had consumers in several states claim that the gift wrapped, purchased food being held had been tampered with (seals broken, foods injected with poisons) while they were away. As far as we could tell, the claims were bogus, but we needed to reduce our potential for liability. So food never left the sight of the consumer and the gift wrapping program ended. I'd be wary of people returning and claiming that what you're handing over isn't what they bought, or worse, that you somehow tried to injure them.

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  • 3 months later...

I'm taking myself and my chocolates to my first market this Sunday :D nervous and excited, but hopefully I can sell a bunch to make a little cash to invest back into making more chocolates!

That's very exciting! Let us know how it goes.

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I'm taking myself and my chocolates to my first market this Sunday :D nervous and excited, but hopefully I can sell a bunch to make a little cash to invest back into making more chocolates!

What are you using to keep your product cool? I use Cambro coolers and that works pretty well. Mine are the kind that hold full sheet pans. On the bottom I have one pan of truffles then I put a pan above that and load in my fudge. 1 ice pack at the bottom and 4 up top and my stuff stays cool.

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yeah, I have a cool bag that worked quite well, it fits the boxes I store my chocolates in almost perfectly. some cool bricks under a towel at the bottom, then the stack of boxes, then a towel and coolbricks on top again. It got to 30C yesterday, but the chocolates stayed nice in the bag. I have a nice piece of stone that I put out which kept the chocolates that I had out cool, but in the end I just left the ones on the stone as display-only and when people wanted them, I got them fresh from the cool bag.

then I got to eat the display ones at the end of the day :D I managed to cover my costs and make a small amount of money to invest back in, which is great - it was only a small school market, so with luck, next month I shall do a larger community market with a higher number of visitors and hopefully do even better!

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Sounds like thing went well for you. Always great when there's no major problems when first trying something new. Any issues with condensation? I initially did a lot of ice packs too and bottom but now I do 4 at the top and 1 on bottom and that seems to help a lot with condensation. I'm able to keep everything slightly chilled but not too cold where the chocolates would start getting wet the first time I pulled the tray out.

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  • 7 years later...

Hi there! Is anyone experienced in selling their chocolate products outside in warmer than expected weather? Who knew October in New York would bring 80+ temps? My set up includes some riser blocks that display my confections, but the forecast has me skeptical. A couple of questions from someone who’s never sold outside before, 1) is it ‘undesirable’ to the consumer to see chocolate food items out in the open air (as opposed to say, on a cake plate with a cover) 2) any ideas on how to keep these things cool?  Thanks (as always) for the input! -Jen

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I'm responding as an eater, not as a seller, but I would not buy chocolates from a vendor who displays their chocolates in the open.  I don't buy baked goods that are exposed to the open air either, as some vendors do around here.  To me, it is unsanitary.

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