A very long time resident of the county is about to start his second year as a participant in the Albert Lea Farmers Market. Lance Perkins, 26, resides outside the city. He owns the DreamAway Gardens.
According to Perkins, he started out his venture just the previous year. It was the same year and the first year that he started selling his produce at the Albert Lea Farmers Market. He claimed that his first year at the market went well.
Perkins also said that he had learned a lot of things throughout his first year as a vendor at the market. Amongst the lessons he learned, he said, was establishing himself, while building a strong name and brand. During his venture, one main thing he has learned was to be at the venue on a constant basis as it greatly helps in establishing and building the brand name.
Perkins also shared the main reason why he tried to join the farmers market. He said, he started his own business and joined the farmers market because he was tired and fed up with the conventional food industry. According to him, he wanted to provide food for all, but his main goal was geared towards the smaller communities. He wanted to get healthy food and provide it to the community.
This year, he said that things are just going well, the same as the previous year. Hence, he has brought more items to market this time. Perkins is selling fresh produce, including transplant seedlings at his booth at the farmers market.
Perkins is also a board member of the Albert Lea Farmers Market, although this year has been just his first as a board member. Verlys Huntley, another vendor at the farmers market said the vendors should sell at least for a year at the farmers market, before qualifying to become a board member. Other vendors, along with the farmer’s market board have helped Perkins in his business as he continually learns the ropes of both the market and the board.
Perkins also said that the farmers market has been working with the Blue Zones Project and the Healthy Foods committee in order to bring more people into the farmers market. The groups have been working on marketing strategies that would inform people of the market’s whereabouts such as the definite times and locations.
He also explained that the farmers market has been working very hard on providing the most produce to people as early as possible, and as late as possible. At times, people tend to think of healthy food options as early as the sunrise, while others opt for such products as late as the sundown.
Currently, Perkins lives on a 5-acre farm outside of the city. He, along with his wife are growing produce and raising chicken at the same time. Perkins said the most difficult thing is encouraging people to visit the farmers market. Hence, the board will focus more on how to promote the farmers market more effectively so as to get more people to their location.