• Cooper's CSA Farm

Buying Local Farm Produce; Understanding Basic Product Pricing




When you’re shopping at your local farmers market, do you ever find yourself wondering why certain items are priced the way they are? Do you start questioning who has the better prices and where you should be shopping?


Comparing farmers markets to grocery stores- when it comes to pricing their products, farmers & store managers have the same beginning principles;

  • Make back what the item cost to produce or purchase

  • Make a little profit off of that item

Ah the “P” word… When consumers hear the word profit, many associate this with the seller stealing their money, gouging their pockets, making themselves billionaires! Well no this is, in most cases, not true what so ever. If businesses did not make a little profit, there would quickly be no shops, stores, bakeries, and so on. Would you want the extreme stress of running a business just to make no profit?! …. Didn’t think so.


So, how do farmers price their items? Lets talk about our farm products;


A farm retail is going to have different ways of pricing their items compared to grocery stores, they’re two different styles of selling food. However, this article will only focus on how farmers may price their items. When it comes to pricing our products, it is very basic and just like how all other businesses do it. We cover the cost it takes to grow the item, for example a vegetable (seed cost, weeding, watering, fertilizing, labour, machinery maintenance etc.) then on top of that price is a little profit for our work. We just wave at these “profits” as they go by, we have a few john Deere tractor payments to make! We are a small business and we do not have automated anything, which means we have a lot of hired labour doing everything by hand. This has a big impact on the price of products because there is a lot more going into that product.


Our pricing, like any business, is extremely affected by external forces. This is other businesses and elements we rely on to make our business function, . For example; our meat is processed by a butcher, if the butchers cutting fees increase, that means we will have to increase our meat retail prices to make up for these extra costs. When minimum wage for labour increases drastically within a short period of time, we have to increase sales prices to be able to afford to have workers. The weather can cause bumps in price increase and decrease as well, if we have really cooperative weather & the plants have a great growing period with high yields, then prices will be much lower. If the opposite happens, say we have a drought, we will have to spend a lot of extra time, money, and effort trying to produce crops, this will increase prices to cover extra production costs. (Supply & Demand theory plays in as well)


There is a very long list of production and retail costs that affect the pricing of our items, but these are the basics of covering the cost to run as business. One of the biggest and most important aspects affecting our pricing is that we will choose quality over quantity every time. This means only growing the best berries to send to markets, raising livestock in manners that produces the best cuts, buying the top-rated seed varieties for flavour, and hand weeding crops so that we don’t damage any produce with large machines. The choice to have such high standards for quality cost a pretty penny, so it does reflect in our pricing. We love producing top quality food!


SO, as you can now tell there are many different variables that go into pricing produce & meat cuts sold right from the farm. Hope this gives a little farm for thought next time you’re shopping at your local farmers market or on farm stores.


-The Coopers




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