Saturday, November 15, 2014

WHY DO I Do the Farmers' Market?

Okay, I admit it.

This morning I was wondering this exact thing.

WHY DO I do the Farmers’ Market? 

As in WHY, oh, WHY do I do the Farmers’ Market.

…putting great emphasis on WHY? 

Quite honestly, I was wondering if that person who told me to    "Get a REAL job!" (click to read) several years ago might have been right.

I (we) had pretty much been dreading this particular morning for nearly a week now. (there is a definite down-side to having the weather as your homepage) The predicted low was going to be more like January than November. That would make for a difficult (to say the least) morning at our open-air market.

And, unfortunately, the weather forecast was correct.

It was 16 degrees…at 4:15am.  That whole sentence just seems WRONG somehow. See why I was wondering WHY?


But, for whatever reasons, we did sign on to be Farmers’ Market vendors…, the Boss set off into the cold and darkness. We were both worried about the produce freezing and how to protect the products and still make sales. There were going to be “issues” on the farm as well with such cold temperatures like frozen water, frozen eggs…and we wouldn’t even think about the hoophouse crops. We would face all that when we got back.

The Market wasn’t much warmer.
some said the temperature in town was actually 13*

There was one lone customer strolling through the Market at the 7am opening.  


it was too cold to set anything out
and the farm banner wouldn't unroll for hanging

That didn’t bode well for the day. 

signs explaining our empty stand

“Oh, ye of little faith…”

propane heater to keep the veggies (and toes) warm

By nine o’clock it had warmed up enough to put the produce out.  Well, what produce was left. Our funny little signs made everyone laugh AND they didn’t mind requesting their produce instead of picking it out of the baskets.

it was finally above freezing

Amazingly, it was a great day.

We don’t do the Market just for the great and amazing days.  We don’t do it just for the income.  And, we don’t do it just ‘cause we can’t do anything else.

We started doing the Market all those years ago because it seemed like a great opportunity. Read the Opportunity of a Lifetime  If we could make it at the Market, it would give us an opportunity to work together as a family, grow our own food and make a little income as well. Obviously, we had no idea how things would play out over the years.  We eventually left all the other possible opportunities behind, turning our full attention to the Market.
Today, the Market is WHAT we do. 

But, the question remains…


If it’s not only for the income. (which, by the way is far beyond what we ever hoped or imagined when we started this venture)  If it’s not for great and amazing days (those are still pretty awesome)…if it’s not because we can’t do anything else (because we really could)…


While it sounds more than a little corny, I (we) do the Market for the intangibles. Those little things that while they have no monetary value, put the world in perspective and give life meaning…

The pleasure on someone’s face when they find that food item they’ve been craving.  The near ecstasy in a customer’s voice when they describe a recipe they just enjoyed made with our food. (and the recipes!) The instant feedback on our efforts and hard work.  The little kids who are enthusiastic about vegetables. The long-running jokes and camaraderie from customers and vendors alike that just go with the territory of doing something for such a very long time. (17 years in the same place every weekend!) The chance to encourage, sympathize with and occasionally educate our customer-friends.


...and this...
the faces...I love the faces!

Because these folks really are our friends.  Read A Special THANK YOU to "Mrs. Squash" 

And, this is our life as well as our livelihood and WHY we do the Market.

 Even when it is 16* at 4:15am!

Lessons Learned:

There are amazing opportunities for the taking at the Farmers' Market.

The Farmers' Market is not just a way to make money, it's a way of life.

There is always something new at the Market. (I'm pretty sure today's low temp was a record) 

Don't keep your socks in front of the propane heater too long.  They will melt.  Not that it ever happened to me...

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  1. Hi Barbara!
    I cannot believe that Anyone would thing that being a farmer is not a Real job. Sheesh.
    Hope you didn't have too much trouble on the farm today because go the cold.
    :) m & jb (who meows piteously to go out in the cold then yeowls piteously 45 seconds later to come back in)

    1. Then you really wouldn't believe some of the other things people say!
      Everything was frozen (really frozen) here on the hill, but should recover with warmer temperatures. I have to admit, I'm a little afraid to look under the covers in the hoophouse, though.
      Sounds like JB is the quintessential cat! :)
      Have a wonderful day!

  2. Very well said Barbara. I have said it before, and I will say it again - how I wish I could buy my produce at your stall - all the things you say about it make me more eager to buy there! Eleven out of ten as my grand-daughter used to say when she was little.

    1. Thank you! I wish you could shop/visit with us, too.