Happy Thanksgiving!

From all of us at FMO, we hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with lots of turkey, sweet desserts, and Ontario-grown veggies.

Congratulations! It’s almost time to relax, kick back and bask in the glow of yet another successful market season, thanks to you, your vendors, volunteers, customers and community at large. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, you should share your gratitude with everyone who contributed to the success of your market.

Tell your customers that time is running out

For most markets, the season is coming to an end so this expression of gratitude can double as a reminder that time is running out! Consider sharing ads on your market’s social media pages to alert customers when the market season is officially over. Tell them: “Only two market days left!” or: “Last farmers’ market of the season coming up this Saturday!” Add a simple line like; “Thank you for all your support throughout the season! Our last market day is _____________ but we can’t wait to see you back next season.” This gives you the opportunity to let them know when the market will be back next year too. “We’ll see you May XX, 2018, so mark your calendars!”

Extra points if you add a fall theme to your ads – like photos of pumpkins, gourds or dried corncobs (downloadable photos can all be found here!). Consider printing some of these ads so you can hand them out at the market and post them around town.

Give customers a way to stay in touch 

Along with thanking your customers and letting them know when you’ll be back in the spring, provide contact info during the off-season in case they want to contact a vendor or know of a vendor who wants to participate in the market next year.

Thank the community for its support by giving back

To thank the community for all its continued support, consider a charity tie-in at the market. A perfect opportunity for this time of year is to make the farmers’ market a drop-off location for a snowsuit drive, gently used winter clothing drive or a nonperishable food drive for the local food bank. This can be arranged by contacting local charities around you. Step it up a notch: each customer who makes a donation receives a $2 thank-you voucher to spend at any farmers’ market stall (that day only). This is a win-win because it makes everyone feel great!

Celebrate your vendors and volunteers

As you know, vendors and volunteers are the heart of farmers’ markets! Consider planning a thank-you party or celebration to recognize all their hard work during market season. Here are a few simple, low-budget ideas:

Thanksgiving potluck – To honour the variety of food vendors at your market; host a Thanksgiving-themed potluck after your last market day is complete. Each vendor could bring a serving of their favourite fall dish that incorporates something they regularly sell. For example, an apple vendor could bring an apple pie; a honey vendor could bring a honey-hickory sauce for ham (which you could provide!). This food would be shared between all vendors and volunteers.

Make a homemade photobooth ­– Arrange some hay bales, pumpkins and corn stalks to create a homemade photobooth. Put a few volunteers in charge of rounding up vendors and volunteers to take their picture at the photobooth when your final market day is coming to an end. This is great because these pictures can be shared on social media and used for years to come!

Have a decorating contest – On the last day of your market, encourage all vendors to go all-out when decorating their displays. The best part: everyone wins! After all, it is the unique creativity and vision of all your vendors that makes your market as awesome as it is – so why not celebrate it?