As of August 2013, there were 8,144 farmers markets listed in the USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory. The way we see it, that’s over 8,000 opportunities across the country for small business owners—particularly farmers, craftsmen, artists and food vendors—to present their wares and services in person to eager consumers.
It isn’t hard to tease out the reasons why in recent years farmers markets have only gained in popularity—on one hand, everyday consumers are becoming more interested in the origins of their food. On the other hand, it’s because the farmers market itself offers a place for various and diverse vendors to gather, creating a bigger draw for customers who would otherwise be forced to drive halfway across the state for the chance to shop the same competition.
To think in these terms it becomes clear that the real “driving” force behind any successful farmers market—besides the dedicated people who organize it, of course—are the work vehicles employed in the task of getting the farmer, the artist and the food vendor from their far-flung headquarters to the central location where the consumer can be reached.
Here’s a look at just a few of the vehicles available from the Chrysler Group LLC that are perfect for vendors looking, quite literally, to bring their wares to market.
2013 Ram 1500
The Ram 1500 Tradesmen with 5.7L HEMI® V8 (4X2) is the most obvious vehicle choice for farmers looking to unload several hundred or even thousands of pounds of fruit and/or veggies at the farmers market. With a max towing capacity of 9,250 pounds and a total max payload of 1,621 pounds, a capable truck like this one ensures that the weekly trip to market is well worth the farmer’s time. After all, the more veggies on hand, the more money the farmer stands to make.
2013 Dodge Grand Caravan
Industry-exclusive Stow ‘n Go® seating is just one of the features contributing to the incredible versatility of the Dodge Grand Caravan. Eighty-one different interior configurations and a total interior space of 143 cubic feet allow you to bring along just about anything you need to the farmers market, including up to six helpers.
2014 Ram ProMaster
The soon-to-be-available 2014 Ram ProMaster will come in 13 different chassis cab combinations. From the Ram 1500 ProMaster with 118-inch wheel base and low roof to the Ram 3500 ProMaster Chassis Cab Cutaway, there is potentially a ProMaster commercial van perfectly suited to any vendor at the market. One can imagine it being the vehicle of choice for bakers, local butchers and even the musicians who provide the entertainment.
In a way, markets like Pike’s Place in Seattle or Eastern Market in Detroit, or one of the many thousands of smaller markets that pop up every Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday in towns all across the country, are like popular social media networks, only better. At the local farmers market, small business owners can reach potential clientele with the most inviting, effective messages of all, things like a perfectly ripe tomato, a sample of fresh-baked bread and, most important, excellent customer service punctuated by real-life smiles.