Starting a Farmers Market Stand: Secrets for Success

With responsible food sourcing becoming a more popular topic of conversation, it’s no wonder locally grown produce is in high demand. There’s a lot that goes into setting up and operating a farmers market stand, so let’s dive into some of the basic things to keep in mind as you get started and also as you plan for the future.

The Optimal Farmers Market Stand Design

Local Produce

Visual merchandising is an important part of any shopping experience. No matter what you’re selling, arranging your products in an eye-catching manner makes them more appealing to customers. The same basic principle applies for farmers markets.

  • Vary the Height of Your Products - Try using risers (which can be simple wooden boxes) to create a dynamic display where customers can more easily see all your products.
  • Make Your Table Look Full - Make sure you bring enough stock to cover most of your table and extra to replenish any empty space that appears as people purchase your items. Creating a sense of abundance makes people more likely to buy.
  • Incorporate Signage - Clearly labeling the names and prices of everything you’re offering with signs can help customers feel informed about their purchasing decisions and can lead to quicker transactions.

Unexpected Supplies You’ll Need for Your Farmers Market Stand

Of course, there are some obvious things every farmers market stand needs (like a table and cash register). But there are a handful of small supplies that can make a big difference in creating a pleasant shopping experience for your customers.

  • Tasting Spoons - Giving out free samples of your homemade jams, sauces, and spreads with tasting spoons ensures that customers know what they’re getting before they spend money on your products. This approach can help seal the deal with customers who may be unsure about buying and can also establish a sense of trust and loyalty that people will hopefully share with their friends.
  • Coffee Airpots or Hot Beverage Dispensers -
    Coffee Dispenser
    Especially if your market stand is located outdoors during the autumn months, providing customers with a hot beverage to go along with your fresh baked goods, or even just to enjoy as they walk around the rest of the market, is a great way to make money on days when your crop may be a little thin.
  • Eco-Friendly Disposables - Disposable bowls, cups, bags, and containers make it convenient for customers to enjoy your products right away, while adhering to the environmentally responsible principles that are so valued in the farmers market community.
  • Branded Canvas Tote Bags - Of course, people shopping will need to carry all their items home with them, but not everyone will come to the market prepared with a bag. By selling canvas tote bags with your stand’s name and logo on them, your customers can show their loyalty to your business and promote it at the same time. Plus, they can carry their purchases more easily!

A Farmers Market Can Be a Springboard for Your Business

If your end goal is to open a brick and mortar store, selling your goods at a farmers market stand is a great way to test out your market. You can find out how your product is received and if you’re selling something that the community really wants or needs. Starting out at a farmers market is a great chance for your business to find its footing and work out the kinks. This approach also helps you build a customer base before your store even opens, which can get you off to a great start.


From setting up your farmers market stand for the very first time to planning for the future of your business, these simple tips can go a long way towards ensuring your success. By anticipating the needs of your customers and providing them with things like disposable bowls, you can increase your sales. And when it comes time to start planning for the future, your farmers market stand will have given you the hands-on experience you need to open a brick and mortar location.

Posted in: Management & Operation | By Jessica Wieser

Oktoberfest Party Ideas for Your Restaurant

Oktoberfest is commonly recognized as a time to eat, drink, and be merry. This German festival is increasing in popularity all over the world, and it is a great opportunity for your restaurant to bring in customers as summer turns to fall. Hosting an Oktoberfest party is about more than pairing beer with food, however. Keep reading to learn about the history of this celebration, see our suggestions for party planning, and check out our sample Oktoberfest menu.

What is Oktoberfest?

Oktoberfest is a festival that originated in Munich, a city located in a region of Germany called Bavaria. This festival generally lasts just over two weeks, taking place from mid-September to the first week in October.

The first Oktoberfest was held from October 12th through 17th in 1810. It was a marriage celebration for the Bavarian crown prince, Ludwig, and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The festival was open to the public of Munich and continued each year to foster community. Eventually, Oktoberfest was elongated and moved earlier into September to take advantage of the warmer weather.

Oktoberfest Celebrations Around the World

Oktoberfest Celebrations

While the biggest Oktoberfest celebration remains in Munich, with over 6 million people attending annually, cities around the world have adopted this festival as a way to welcome the changing season. Some of the biggest Oktoberfest fairs in the United States are in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Cincinnati, Ohio; Fredericksburg, Texas; and Reading, Pennsylvania.

Oktoberfest Party Ideas

If you want to bring Oktoberfest to your restaurant, check out these ideas to help plan your event.

Start with Excitement

Germany’s Oktoberfest can’t begin until the mayor of Munich taps a ceremonial keg of beer and proclaims “O’Zapft is!” or “It's tapped!” Beginning with the same sort of spectacle builds guests’ anticipation of your event.

Make Your Decor Festive

Make sure you get your Oktoberfest party supplies in the customary color scheme. Traditionally, Oktoberfest decor features a blue and white checkered pattern as seen on the flag of Bavaria. Decorate your tables with this classic combination, and switch out your usual napkins for black, red, and gold to represent the German flag for added flair.

Play Music

While many people associate Oktoberfest with old-fashioned Oompah music played by brass instruments and accordions, Germany’s modern Oktoberfest plays music ranging from folk to top 40 hits. For your restaurant's celebration, play whatever genre is best to get your crowd ready for the festivities.

Oktoberfest Party Menu

Serving authentic German foods is an integral part to any Oktoberfest celebration. Check out our suggestions for your Oktoberfest party food.

Soft pretzels

Starters

  • Soft pretzels: As one of the most widely recognizable German foods, soft pretzels are a great way to start your Oktoberfest meal. Serve them with German mustard to complete this appetizer.

  • Cheese plates: Pair German cheeses like limburger, muenster, and butterkase with pumpernickel or rye bread.

Entrees

  • Sausages: For this classic main course, try serving bratwurst, bierwurst, or weisswurst with crusty rolls.

  • Schnitzel: This dish is made of pounded pork, veal, or turkey cutlets that are coated in breadcrumbs before frying.

  • Roast chicken: Each year, thousands of rotisserie-roasted chickens are eaten at Oktoberfest in Munich. If you don’t have a rotisserie, oven-roasted chicken is a great alternative.

Side Dishes

Spaetzle
  • Sauerkraut: This traditional German side is made of finely cut cabbage that has been fermented. Make your own if you want a fresher, more pungent flavor.

  • Potato salad: German-style potato salad is made using red potatoes, bacon, and mustard for richness.

  • Spaetzle: Similarly to pasta, you can make spaetzle from dough that is cut into small pieces and boiled.

Desserts

  • Apple strudel: This sweet dish contains apple slices, spices, and nuts that are rolled in pastry and baked until crispy.

  • Plum knodel: To make these dessert dumplings, plums are wrapped in a dough that is made from potatoes and flour, and then they are boiled and rolled in bread crumbs.

Beverages

  • Beer: As the cornerstone beverage of this festival, beer is a must-have for your Oktoberfest party menu. For added festivity, limit your offerings to German imports or bready and dark beers that are perfect for fall.

  • Orange Cola: Mimic a popular German soft drink by mixing equal parts of cola and orange soda.

  • Apfelschorle: Provide guests with another non-alcoholic option by combining equal parts of apple juice and sparkling water.


Hosting an Oktoberfest celebration at your restaurant allows you to be creative with temporary decor and menu items. When you bring this German festival to your establishment, you can also attract new customers who are looking to partake in seasonal events. Before you start looking for German recipes, refer to this blog for tips on how to celebrate Oktoberfest in your restaurant.

Posted in: Seasonal | By Christine Potts

What Is a Jelly Roll Pan?

Have you ever prepared ingredients for a rolled cake, only to realize that you don’t have the jelly roll pan that the recipe calls for? Keeping your commercial kitchen stocked with the right types of cake pans can be tricky when there are dozens of varieties available. You may be tempted to substitute the required jelly roll pan for another option that is already in your stock, but most recipes call for specific pans to help your baked goods turn out as delicious as possible. To find out what a jelly roll pan is, what it’s used for, and how it got its name, keep reading.

What Is a Jelly Roll Pan, and What Can I Use It For?

A jelly roll pan is a type of sheet pan that is designed to make thin sponge or sheet cakes that are sturdy enough to coat with creme, jelly, or other fillings and roll into a cylinder shape. They are often used in recipes for popular cakes like pumpkin rolls, yule logs, and their namesake, jelly rolls.These pans can be made from a variety of materials, but you can most commonly find aluminum or aluminized steel jelly roll pans.

What Are the Dimensions of a Jelly Roll Pan?

Most 1/4 size jelly roll pans measure approximately 9" by 13" and 1" deep. Additionally, some 1/2 size jelly roll pans can be 12” by 17” and 1” deep. They are usually a bit smaller than half sheet pans, which tend to be 13” by 18” and around 1” deep.

What Can I Use as a Jelly Roll Pan Substitute?

Jelly Roll Example

While it is best to use a jelly roll pan if your recipe calls for it, a half sheet pan is a similar option. This being said, the size of a jelly roll pan is ideal for rolled cake recipes because its length and width are narrower than a half sheet pan, but it is just as deep. In many cases, recipes instruct you to fill your jelly roll pan almost to its brim with batter. That way, your cake comes out just about an inch tall and will be substantial enough to hold generous amounts of filling. Using a half sheet pan in place of a jelly roll pan could produce a thin cake that cracks when filled or even burns in the oven.

What Else Can I Use a Jelly Roll Pan for?

Jelly roll pans are not only useful for making rolled cakes. Their lipped edge makes them great for roasting vegetables, and they can even be used for baking cookies. Because they are smaller than half sheet pans, they are also easier to put in your dishwasher and store when you are finished.


While jelly roll pans look similar to baking sheets, using a half sheet pan instead of a jelly roll pan could ruin your cake. A jelly roll pan's unique dimensions are perfect for giving your sponge or sheet cakes the structural integrity they need in order to stay together after filling and rolling. With a jelly roll pan on hand, you can make its namesake treat without worrying about cracking, crumbling, or burning.

Posted in: Kitchen & Cooking Tips | Bakeries | By Christine Potts

Top Products for National Food Safety Education Month

Did you know that September is National Food Safety Education Month? Maintaining an establishment that complies with food safety requirements not only allows you to keep guests happy and healthy, but it can also help your business avoid potential lawsuits and bad publicity. Be sure to check out our inventory of food safety supplies, which includes allergen-safe items, sanitizing chemicals, first aid products, disposable supplies, and much more. Keep reading for a list of the top ten products every business needs in order to pass health inspections and maintain their compliance with food safety standards.


Food Safety Books
Food Safety Books from $9.49

1. Food Safety Books

Looking for a little light reading? We offer food safety books that cover food preservation, hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP), sanitation, and more.

Food Safety Disposables
Food Safety Disposables from $2.26

2. Food Safety Disposables

From disposable apparel and food thermometers to day of the week dots and product labels, our inventory of food safety disposables will help keep your restaurant sanitary.

Food Handling Instructions
Food Handling Instructions from $3.15

3. Food Handling Instructions

Food safe handling instruction labels help you educate your customers on how to safely handle their purchases after they leave your business and are perfect for delis, butcher shops, and grocery stores.

Food Grade Chemicals
Food Grade Chemicals from $3.69

4. Food Grade Chemicals

USDA-approved food grade lubricants are designed to keep kitchen equipment that comes into contact with food operating quietly and efficiently without making customers sick.

Color-Coded Cutting Boards
Color-Coded Cutting Boards from $13.65

5. Color-Coded Cutting Boards

Purchase color-coded cutting board sets in a variety of shades to avoid cross-contamination in your foodservice establishment. Many of these kits also include charts to help your employees keep track of which cutting board they should be using.

Ice Scoop Holders
Ice Scoop Holders from $1.46

6. Ice Scoop Holders

These handy products can be clipped to the side of your ice bins or mounted to the wall and are intended to keep your ice scoop (and the germs that may live on it) out of the ice used in your customers' drinks.

NSF Listed Knife Stations
NSF Listed Knife Stations from $15.50

7. NSF Listed Knife Stations

NSF Listed knife stations are more sanitary than magnetic bars and stainless steel or wooden blocks because they're dishwasher safe. In addition to keeping knives clean and away from contaminants, their closed design also helps keep your staff safe.

NSF Listed Meat Thermometers
NSF Listed Meat Thermometers from $1.95

8. NSF Listed Meat Thermometers

NSF Listed meat thermometers are waterproof, so you can easily sanitize them after use. Some options even include a cover to keep the thermometer safe from dirt and other contaminants.

Color-Coded Sanitizing Pails
Color-Coded Sanitizing Pails from $2.03

9. Color-Coded Sanitizing Pails

These sanitizing pails come in a variety of colors to help your employees distinguish between the different areas of your restaurant (kitchen, bathroom, dining room, etc.) each pail is supposed to be used in.

Disposable Gloves
Disposable Gloves from $3.89

10. Disposable Gloves

Last but certainly not least are disposable foodservice gloves. These easy-to-use products are ideal for food handling and preparation, but your staff can also use them for janitorial tasks.


Whether you're breaking down meat at your butcher shop, cleaning your restaurant's bathrooms, or maintaining your kitchen equipment, observing proper food safety protocol is essential to the daily operation of any foodservice business. Doing so will not only help you pass health inspections and keep your establishment running smoothly, but it can also help you impress customers and drum up new business. September is National Food Safety Education Month, so now is the perfect time to stock up on the top ten food safety items mentioned above!

Posted in: Cleaning Tips | Food Safety | Management & Operation | By Nora Fulmer
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