• Are supplies such as
carriers or berry boxes kept where they are needed? Are other items kept
out of the way (perhaps overhead)? Is the scale handy and easy to use?
• Are your workstation heights adjusted to the individual workers?
For lightweight items, efficient work height is halfway between wrist
and elbow, measured when the arm is hanging at the worker’s side.
For heavier items it is slightly lower. Could some workers use a step
stool? Could some tasks be done while sitting?
• Are work surfaces easy to sanitize?
• Are you using rollers, wheels, conveyors or carts to their best
advantage? For example, you might benefit from a section of roller table
installed near the cooler, or adding a pair of wheels to one end of a
table so the table can be moved easily for set up or storage.
• Does your cooler size fit the needs of your operation? If a cooler
is too small, time and energy may be wasted trying to deal with overcrowding,
and fruit quality may suffer.
• Does the width of your cooler door fit your loading/unloading
system? If you are using a walk-in cooler with a narrow door, you may
want to consider adopting a system of narrow pallets and a specialized
hand pallet truck. Or you may choose a low platform, 5-wheeled handcart
with a center swivel wheel for easier maneuvering in the cooler.
• Are you quickly and effectively communicating with your customers?
Is your signage clear and easy to read? Are the letters large enough to
be seen from a distance? Is your PYO system logical and easily explained
so that first time customers quickly grasp the idea?
• Do you use a memo board
or chalkboard in your sales area? They can give you a system for quick
communication with your workers, for example as a check-off list for tasks.
Chalkboards or memo boards can also provide easy answers to customers’
common questions, such as “Today’s varieties are Jewel and
Honeoye”. These messages can lend a welcoming, inclusive feel to
the farm experience.
• Is your pricing system easy for workers to use? Would it help
them to post “quick reference” cards for commonly sold units?
• Do electrical cords and outlets have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters?
They are inexpensive and easy to install and can prevent electrocution.
Where can I get more information?
Some references for sales areas and roadside stands are listed below.
Your state agricultural library may have other useful information. These
references are provided as a convenience for our readers. They are not
an endorsement by the University of Wisconsin.
Facilities for Roadside Markets. Arthur W. Selders et al., 1992. Northeast
Regional Agricultural Engineering Service (NRAES), 152 Riley-Robb Hall,
Cooperative Extension Ithaca, NY 14853-5701. (607) 255-7654..
How to Establish and Operate a Roadside Stand. Michelle Woods and Anne
Zumwalt, 1990. Univ. of CA Davis Small Farm Center Publication ANRP 010,
29 pp, $5. (530) 752-8136.
This material was developed by the Healthy Farmers, Healthy Profits
Project, whose goal is to find and share work efficiency tips that maintain
farmers' health and safety and also increase profits.
For more information, call (608) 252-1054 or visit our website at http://bse.wisc.
Material is not copyrighted. Feel free to
reproduce; please mention source: University of Wisconsin Healthy Farmers,
Healthy Profits Project, December,2000; Second Edition.
Authors: Bob Meyer, Astrid Newenhouse, Larry Chapman and Marcia Miquelon,
Department of Biological Systems
Engineering, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of
Wisconsin, 460 Henry Mall, Madison, WI 53706.
Research for this publication was funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention’s National Institute
for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
Work Efficiency Tip Sheet: Streamline your sales area