Attending The Farmer’s Market Academy
Good morning!! Hope everyone is having a fabulous day! Yesterday a few of us from our committee attended the first ever Farmer’s Market Academy which was held in Minneapolis. The turn out was great, I’d say approximately 80 people were in attendance. The event was catered so we had a nice lunch and everyone was very friendly and helpful.
There were 4 main speakers. Kerry Phillips, from the Eagan Market Fest and Kirsten Bansen Weigle from the Maple Grove Farmer’s Market spoke about the importance of using metrics to evaluate your business and using this information to further your success. Metrics are very important to determine the value of your product. Although what they were saying was geared more towards Farmer’s Markets, I think metrics would also be very useful for helping home bakers to find the correct value and the right market for their products. Another thing that was very interesting was the study they conducted to find the best form of advertising. The conclusion was that word of mouth and social media are the top two most successful ways to advertise your business. For more information or questions just click on their names and they will be happy to help: Kerry Phillips, Eagan Market Fest or Kirsten Bansen Weigle. MFMA Board president/ Maple Grove Farmer’s Market
Suzanne Driessen, from the University of Minnesota Extension, gave the Food and Safety training. She spoke about the importance of creating a healthy environment to work in, how to package and label your products correctly, what makes certain recipes hazardous and others non-hazardous, how to prohibit food contamination and tried to answer as many questions as she could. She suggested using the Texas Cottage Food cookbook titled Come and Bake It, which briefly talks about their fight to change the cottage food law in Texas, and includes a collection of recipes that they have had tested and approved as non-hazardous recipes, but be sure to read the recipes as this book also contains recipes that are hazardous. If you have a recipe that you are concerned about you can always have it tested. Contact Kathy Zemen at the Minnesota Farmer’s Market and she will be able to help with this. There will be workshops in the future specifically to teach how to gage waters levels, etc. in your recipes. For any questions you may have about food safety and upcoming workshops contact: Suzanne Driessen, University of Minnesota Extension
The final speaker was Ryan Pesch, also from the University of Minnesota Extension. He spoke about pricing and marketing your product. This was such an interesting class! Unfortunately we had to leave before the second half of his talk, but what I did get to hear was great. You should look him up and if you have any questions please contact: Ryan Pesch, University of Minnesota Extension
Of course the Food and Safety Training was the main reason that we attended this academy. There are still a lot of questions that haven’t been answered yet. The Minnesota Dept. of Agriculture, the Minnesota Farmer’s Market Association, the University of Minnesota and many other people are working together to get all of the details ironed out. These classes teach the specifics. It was very interesting and informative as well as being a requirement for legally selling your baked goods from home and in farmer’s markets. I encourage you to sign up for the Farmer’s Market Academy in your area. At the end of the class you will receive this Certificate of Attendance with your name on it. It is good for 3 years.
Many of you who registered with the Dept. Of Agriculture for 2015 will have received your 2016 renewal form in the mail. Just fill out and return the form with the already addressed envelope included in your letter. If you will be registering in 2016 for the first time, you can find the forms on the Dept. Of Agriculture website. Please be sure to date your form after Dec. 15th, 2015. Remember that registering with the Dept. Of Agriculture is required every year.
Be sure to attend one of the Farmer’s Market Academy’s if you can. It was a great way to meet the required Food and Safety Training and to learn lots of new and interesting information as well. You won’t regret it.