Today is the big day!!! The day you have spent all year waiting for is finally here- Reefer Christmas!!! The biggest single day swap in the whole US! Anyone even remotely close to CT should give the Frag Farmer's Market a shot. If you have never come out, you will not be disappointed. With over 70 coral vendors, (over 100 total), there are more corals at the FFM than at any other swap/show for sure. If you have come out in the past, you are already coming out, so I will see you there! Regardless, it is definitely worth the trip out.
Here are some of the FFM FAQ?
“What about the weather? Are you going to cancel?”
-No, we are on for the FFM. We are going to get rain this morning with maybe a flake here or there. So the weather at the FFM is not an issue. If you are getting snow, it is better here than it is there, so come spend the day! Where better to ride out a storm at home, than at the FFM! That said, everyone drive safely.
"I have to drive 3 hours to get to the Frag Farmers, is it really worth it?"
-I always look at a big show this way; I drive an hour to go to a good fish store. What if I could drive 3 to see all of the fish stores in one place. With almost 80 coral vendors this year, this is the single largest grouping of corals you can find anywhere. No conference, no show, no swap focuses on just corals like the FFM. With a number of vendors similar to a RAP, or MACNA, but focused on just corals and only $10 to get in, you get a better selection here than anywhere. There is also a SUPER low vendor fee so the vendors tend to have better prices and a little less stress, so it’s a much more “chilled out” environment for everyone… with better prices!. The room after room of corals at the FFM is overwhelming, even to me and I have been to them all!
"Are the prices good at the FFM?"
-The prices at the FFM tend to be better than you will find elsewhere for three reasons:
- The shops always stock up to sell at shows and give better pricing than you would see in their store, or online. They often do package deals, 5 for $50, etc…
- The set-up fee for shops is so low, they don't feel the pressure to make back their set-up fee. Typical shows this size charge $1000's for the space, mine is WAY under that, and only $30 for hobbyists. People always ask why don't I charge more, and the answer is I'm not in this for the money. I just want to be able to run my coral project with the kids at the school. Vendors relaxed and in a good mood means better prices!
- With so many vendors, you can find the same coral at multiple stations. That competition causes better prices. Frags range anywhere from free (yes that happens!) all the way up to $1000+. I saw both yesterday during set-up.
“How do I get tickets??”
Admission is $10. All sales are at the door for the FFM. There are no advanced sales.
"Will there be high end corals at the FFM?"
-Yes, there are a TON of high end Zoas, LPS, and SPS at the FFM, sold by many of the vendors. The FB group for the event has been blowing up with “Who is bringing (Fill in crazy name here) to the show??” Pretty much every post was answered with a few “Yeah, I’ll have that.” Every year, I see things at the FFM that I didn’t even know existed? I am already planning to stop by one booth to pick up the craziest acro I have ever seen!
"Can I find easy to keep corals? I have a new tank or am just looking to fill some space."
-Yes, that is there too. Lots of the hobbyists farm easy stuff, GSP, mushrooms, leathers, xenia, etc... Our school project keeps mainly easy to keep stuff, stop by 107 and look!
"Do vendors accept credit cards?"
-Some do, some don't. Most of the shops do but some of the hobbyists do not. I always suggest cash, it’s a sure thing. Many will take Venmo, Paypal, etc…
“How much money should I bring?”
This is a tricky question. Here is a word problem to describe it (sorry it's a teacher thing):
When you leave home, you have $X you are planning to spend. You spend it in the first room of the FFM (there are 16 and three long hallways this year) You see two other things you want in the next room. You visit the ATM across the street and take out $Y for those pieces. Your cooler now weighs Z lbs, but you left that at the Cooler Check Station. You leave having spent $X + $Y, and wishing you had bought that one other frag that you had never seen before. How long will your wife make you sleep on the couch when she finds out how much money you spent? and can you see the tank from the couch?
Seriously, I always suggest that people bring 2-3X what they think they will spend. The deals and variety are too good to pass up at the FFM and it only comes once a year.
“How do I get my new corals home?”
Bring a cooler. The good news is that you don’t have to lug it around all day. The FFM has a FREE cooler check station. Just drop your cooler off and we will keep it safe for you. If you need to drop something off, just stop by the table and throw it into your cooler! Don’t worry your stuff will be safe at the cooler station!
"Is there a raffle?"
Yes there is. It is one of the biggest you will see at a swap with anything from rock to supplements, fish to coral, controllers to pumps, lighting to AIO tanks, cutters to coral saws, PAR meters to huge TV’s, and a TON more! We even have a private tour of the Polo Reef tank in the raffle this year! Raffle tickets are for sale all day at the FFM. Just find one of the guys walking around selling them.
"Where does all the money from the FFM go?"
Unlike most shows, ALL of the proceeds go to support the E.O. Smith High School Coral Project. I teach my students about corals, aquaculture and conservation by having them help me run the school’s coral farm. The FFM has become so successful that I have been able to start helping other schools get going with similar projects in their classrooms. I have also used the proceeds from the FFM to give out over $3000 in scholarships over the last seven years to students who are going to college to study marine science.
Hope to see you all at the FFM- door open at 10am!