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Catering, Vending and Cooking For The Masses. this forum is OnTopic. A resource to help with catering, vending and just cooking for large parties. Topics to include Getting Started, Ethics, Marketing, Catering resources, Formulas and recipes for cooking for large groups.


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Unread 02-20-2009, 09:02 AM   #1
HeSmellsLikeSmoke
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Default Vending at Farmer's Markets

I didn't want to hijack the Roadside Vending Thread, which is a very helpful, so I thought it best to start one specifically for Farmer's Markets which have different issues.

Looks like I am going to get a spot at the local Saturday morning farmer's market this summer so I am going trough the planning stages right now.

Here is my vision at this point.

I intend to be set up in an EZ-Up, and run like a miniature central Texas, german butcher shop heritage, operation like Cooper's in Llano or the Lockhart trio and sell smoked meat and sides by the pound. I want it to be more like a smoked meat booth than a traditional barbecue booth.

I want them to smell the smoke to help lure them them over to the booth, so I intend to have smoke coming out of a holding pit . I want to cut the meats in front of the customers, letting them tell me how much of each meat they want, wrap them in butcher paper and have them take it over to my wife to be weighed and purchased. (The eyes are bigger than the stomach in these Texas joints. The smell of smoked meat drives you crazy as you tell them how much you want and you always buy more than you can eat.)

Sides will be in containers and be sold by weight also. There will be picnic tables set up for them to sit and eat off the butcher paper. There will be a self-serve wrapping station for them to take home the extra food they have not eaten.

In Vermont, farmer's markets have a little less stringent permit requirements than normal vending or catering operation. I am now in the process of getting what permits I need.

More to follow like coming up with a good name for such an operation. But I wanted to get input from the Brethren, who have vended - especially in farmer's markets, on my thinking so far.
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Unread 02-20-2009, 09:45 AM   #2
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Sounds like the perfect set up. What are you going to have out there to cook on?
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Unread 02-20-2009, 10:03 AM   #3
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I guess farmers markets out here are different. I would never be able to sell food and have them sit down and eat it. Our markets are people coming and basically grocery shopping. I am going to approach a local farmers market and see what they think about the idea of selling food there.
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Unread 02-20-2009, 10:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoneStarBarbeque Co. View Post
Sounds like the perfect set up. What are you going to have out there to cook on?
I am going to do the actual smoking off-site. At first with three WSMs and Two SnP Pros. Will add USDs as soon as I can to replace all of those and add a few more as needed. If things go really well, I would then get into a large cabinet smoker such as a Spicewine.

I intend to transport the smoked meat to the market in cambros and pull out meat as needed into the holding pit which is mostly for smoke and show - probably one of the SnP Pros at first. Cooper's smokes in the various pits they have in the yard, and then bring the smoked meat to the "selling pit" that you walk by to see the meat they cut for your order. This is a similar concept.

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Originally Posted by OC PIG ASSASSINS View Post
I guess farmers markets out here are different. I would never be able to sell food and have them sit down and eat it. Our markets are people coming and basically grocery shopping. I am going to approach a local farmers market and see what they think about the idea of selling food there.
Ar first, they will have to take the food over to the community seating area, but I hope to be able to put a few picnic tables out near me. Long term if sales are good enough, maybe for next summer, I am looking into getting two adjacent spaces with one of the EZ-Ups used for the eating area.
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Unread 02-20-2009, 11:07 AM   #5
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Will the HD let you cook at home and sell it like that?
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Unread 02-20-2009, 11:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OC PIG ASSASSINS View Post
I guess farmers markets out here are different. I would never be able to sell food and have them sit down and eat it. Our markets are people coming and basically grocery shopping. I am going to approach a local farmers market and see what they think about the idea of selling food there.
Check it out man, our market last fall actually cleared a spot just so people had a place to sit, and it was their idea!

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Originally Posted by HeSmellsLikeSmoke View Post
I am going to do the actual smoking off-site. At first with three WSMs and Two SnP Pros. Will add USDs as soon as I can to replace all of those and add a few more as needed. If things go really well, I would then get into a large cabinet smoker such as a Spicewine.

I intend to transport the smoked meat to the market in cambros and pull out meat as needed into the holding pit which is mostly for smoke and show - probably one of the SnP Pros at first. Cooper's smokes in the various pits they have in the yard, and then bring the smoked meat to the "selling pit" that you walk by to see the meat they cut for your order. This is a similar concept.
So your plan is to stay up ALL night the night before your market and cook and then sell food all day?
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Unread 02-20-2009, 11:19 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by LoneStarBarbeque Co. View Post
Will the HD let you cook at home and sell it like that?
I will be using a compliant kitchen at the church near my house.
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Unread 02-20-2009, 11:27 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Bbq Bubba View Post
So your plan is to stay up ALL night the night before your market and cook and then sell food all day?
Well, sort of. With either the WSMs or the UDS, there isn't a lot of need to stay awake all night. But I will be up some to check things out.

The farmer's market closes at 1:30 PM, so i can catch a nap after that if need be. I am up smoking a lot on weekends for myself anyway. (Plus, at my age, it works in great with my getting up to go to the bathroom. )
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Unread 02-20-2009, 11:27 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeSmellsLikeSmoke View Post
I will be using a compliant kitchen at the church near my house.
Good answer!

Sounds like a good plan then!
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Unread 02-20-2009, 11:37 AM   #10
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I have actually been toying with that idea myself because we are getting more and more bulk orders. Our Farmer's Markets have community eating areas also.
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Unread 02-20-2009, 11:56 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bbq Bubba View Post
So your plan is to stay up ALL night the night before your market and cook and then sell food all day?
You pretty much have to because your customers expect your food to be done when you open up. And since market usually about 4 hours you don't have time to smoke anything else. That only works for people who put there meat on the fire.
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Unread 02-20-2009, 11:59 AM   #12
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I have actually been toying with that idea myself because we are getting more and more bulk orders. Our Farmer's Markets have community eating areas also.
The way you were explaining before I didn't get a clear picture. But his concept of having someone else weigh it after he puts it on paper is great. I think we should wait until we get the larger smoker though.
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Unread 02-20-2009, 12:10 PM   #13
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I have actually been toying with that idea myself because we are getting more and more bulk orders. Our Farmer's Markets have community eating areas also.
Seems like you are perfectly positioned to evolve into a similar style operation.
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Unread 02-20-2009, 12:44 PM   #14
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I love yall!

I gotta get myself in moton at our local market.
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Unread 02-20-2009, 12:59 PM   #15
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Here is a picture of the "selling/holding pit" at Cooper's in Llano. Notice the red plastic trays on which they place your meat directly -- no paper or anything, to take inside to weigh.

They have goat, thick pork chops, ribs, brisket, sausage, etc in there to choose from. The meats are cooked on the other pits in the yard. You can see part of one of them on the far left of the picture.

The selling/holding pit is to the side of the building. There is no front door as such. You stand in line and smell the smoke. When it is your turn, they open the pit door for you and the smell gets you in a feeding frenzy. You point and they cut. Then you go in the side door to weigh and pay and get your other stuff.

The concept I have for the farmer's market is adapted from this system.

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