Monday, October 27, 2014

View From the Other Side of the Table

Before I was a farmer's market vendor, I was a farmer's market customer, checking out booth after booth and sometimes balking at the prices of things. Imagine charging that much for homemade bread, chocolate, salsa, wine or produce! Not having yet been a vendor, it was impossible for me to know how much time, energy and resources went into the crafting of the product that seemed so pricey.

Now that I've been on the other side of the table, I really get it!! High quality ingredients, hand made beautiful products, long hours making the products and on market day (after working at a frenzied pace in the days before, then packing the car the night before)...up at 5 am, out the door carrying lunch, drinks, coffee (or in my case, vitamin powder drink), set up the tent, tables and products by opening bell.

It can be challenging to have a smile on one's face at that opening bell especially if it's cold and drizzly or burning hot or even if it's a nice day because the long week of preparations has left us with some real fatigue.

Yet we keep on keepin' on to build our businesses, try out new products, and best of all, to take part in the community spirit!

Market day is a happy day. Everyone is out with babies, kids, and dogs looking for beautiful food and crafts and connection.

My friend, Peggy, who helped me at the market a few times, pointed out the changes in people's faces upon trying my products. Of course, not everyone likes my products but most people did. When someone tried the Sprouted Almond Cookies or a Pumpernickel Muffin Top I watched their face move from neutral to pure joy and delight.

Comments like "these cookies are delicious and are not too sweet!" and "I haven't had pumpernickel in sooooooo long! Thank you!!" remind me that I am on the right path, bringing healthy delicious food to people like myself with food restrictions.

Peggy suggested that sometime we set up a video camera to document the facial changes. I think it's an interesting idea!

I learned so much from my first vendor year at the market. I didn't figure out everything, though. Some days I sold out of one product. The next week I'd bring lots more of that product but it would just sit there while something else would sell out. Baffling.

I felt a lot of solidarity and support with and from the other vendors. We shared business tips and supported each other through the season.

We have one last market, the Pre-Thanksgiving Market which will be indoors so no tent to set up. I'll be presenting  my newly perfected Chocolate Bread as well as my Ginger Bread. Hopefully, my new Cocktail breads, which need another week or so of testing, will also be ready.

        Ginger Bread                               Chocolate Bread

Being a farmer's market vendor was a fabulous experience and I hope to do it again, next year!!

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