You may be one of the many people who have increasingly begun to grow their own fruits and vegetables in their backyard or community garden in recent years. Now that you have the basics down, earning extra money from your new hobby seems like a natural next step to take. You can begin by selling at Farmer's Markets, but if you are producing enough fruits and vegetables, you can also open your own roadside stand.
Select a location for your fruit or vegetable stand. If your property boarders a traffic-filled street, you are in luck, and you can set up the stand there. If not, canvas vacant areas close to your home that face busy streets. Look for open lots or abandoned commercial buildings with parking lots. Find the owner of the property through your local assessor's office and contact them about potentially using their property. However, be prepared to pay a fee for the useage.
Check with local county or city governmental offices to make sure the location you choose is zoned for commercial use. Make sure you inquire about the licenses or permits required for opening and operating a fruit and vegetable stand.
Build or buy a fruit and vegetable stand. You can build or hire a builder to create a wooden stand, complete with a roof. However, the stand can be difficult to move during the off season, especially if it is located on property that is not yours. Pop-up tents, or shade canopies, are a perfect temporary shelter. They can be found at home improvement centers or other big-box stores.
Give your new business a name. Think up something catchy that tells customers a bit about who you are and what you are selling. Some examples: Ronda's Raspberries and More, Vegetable Perfection or Fresh Picked.
Set up your stand at the location you have selected. After assembling your tent, anchor it so it won't blow away in the wind by using rope or twine to attach weights to the metal rims of the tent. Set the weights on the ground, with the rope taught. Gallon milk jugs, filled with sand, water or cement, work well as weights because they also feature a handle that can be used to string the rope through. Make a sign with your business name on it and place it at the front of your tent or attach it to the top of the tent.
Ensure that your stand is well stocked. Get up early on the days that you open the stand, and pick the fruits and vegetables you are planning to sell that day. If the days are particularly warm, pick only what you will sell in a few hours. Ask friends or family members to deliver fresh produce periodically, or ask them to watch the stand while you return to your garden to pick fresh produce. Also make sure that you have enough paper bags and change for the day.
Create a tidy display of your produce. Use folding tables to display your fruits and vegetables. Bring folding chairs so you won't be on your feet all day.
Place sandwich-board signs advertising your stand at several intervals and in both directions along the roadside. You need to give potential customers plenty of time to slow down their car and turn into the parking area near your stand.
De-assemble the tent at the end of the day and pick up any nearby litter or refuse. Keep your selling area neat and clean because customers are less likely to stop at your stand if the area is in disarray.