Sat | Jun 6, 2020

Families birth businesses from farmers’ market resale

Published:Friday | May 22, 2020 | 12:24 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Alexandria Rodriques packs scallion and eggs in her van after making purchases at a farmers’ market at the Rural Agricultural Development Authority’s grounds at Old Hope Road, St Andrew. Alexandria and her sister Amanda resell produce in the St Andrew community of Smokey Vale.
Alexandria Rodriques packs scallion and eggs in her van after making purchases at a farmers’ market at the Rural Agricultural Development Authority’s grounds at Old Hope Road, St Andrew. Alexandria and her sister Amanda resell produce in the St Andrew community of Smokey Vale.

Alexandria Rodriques and her 16-year-old sister, Amanda, have tapped business opportunities out of farmers’ markets by buying bulk produce at low cost and retailing, on order, to established clientele.

“We buy wholesale every week for our own farmers’ market in our community in Smokey Vale. We are not buying for a huge community, but we have about 30 people that come to our own market each week,” Alexandria, 21, said, while stocking her mom’s car at the farmers’ market held on the RADA grounds on Old Hope Road in St Andrew yesterday.

The siblings submit price lists weekly, along with flyers, to customers who select produce and specify quantities. This is done via a community WhatsApp group chat.

POSITIVE FEEDBACK

So far, the Rodriqueses said that they have received favourable feedback.

“I think people are appreciative of the fact they don’t have to come off the hill to go and get those things, and I believe they also appreciate the pre-order concept we have established,” said Alexandra.

She disclosed that the undertaking had limited profit but provided a philanthropic benefit to the community while offering a sharp learning curve for the business rookies.

Farmers’ markets have been promoted by the Government as an avenue to offset surplus produce that has contributed to a national glut because of the shuttering of hotels for the better part of two months as the coronavirus pandemic triggered travel restrictions.

“As it is now, farmers are unable to sell as much as they would want to, and they still want business, so if we can buy produce in bulk and then take it back to our community, then it’s a deal we can work on and something we are considering doing beyond COVID-19,” Alexandria told The Gleaner.

The Rodriqueses are not alone in this passion.

Elderly couple Joan Williams and her husband Matthew were busy arranging bags of produce they had purchased to be placed in their SUV.

They live in a gated community in upper St Andrew and have also been utilising pre-orders to maximise on sales.

“It is a great little venture,” said Matthew, explaining that he came up with the idea only two days after it became apparent that his wife would lose her job because of a downturn in business as curfews and social-gathering restrictions took hold.

Their method is slightly different. While the Rodriqueses use WhatsApp to get orders, the Williamses prefer the old-fashioned way of walking door to door to collate selections.

“Now we buy solely from the farmers’ market. Wherever it is being held, we find it, we buy the produce in quantities we are sure will be sold and head back home, and sure enough the stuff gets bought with ease,” said Joan, her husband nodding in agreement.

“We probably won’t get rich quick, but we will be walking and trying,” Matthew said, adding that they derive pleasure from helping others while earning for themselves.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com