My first summer vending at my local farmer's market ended a couple of weeks ago. And it was an adventure! Besides being fun, and profitable, it was also educational:
While I've thought the recent encouragement of "shopping locally" was a good and even obvious concept, being immersed in it over the summer gave me a new perspective and appreciation for a very old tradition...a practice that should never have changed. Through the market, I was introduced to another locally-owned business--a really lovely store--Wild Flower Collectibles, who asked to carry my soaps. I love supporting people, not businesses, if that makes sense. At a farmer's market, I can talk to the people from my own community that make and/or grow what they sell. They have a knowledge and passion for their work that is non-existant in a retail store. And I learned so much besides this. I swapped recipes, gardening tips, heirloom beans, kombucha starters and stories galore with customers and vendors. And it wasn't even so bad during slow times--it gave me more time for visiting. :)
And the shopping--I miss that tremendously! Here is one treasure that I bought this fall. Looks like a beached seal, doesn't it? It's actually a 25# plus banana squash and I have it on good authority from another vendor (a lady who knows pretty much everything about gardening and canning) that it tastes like a finely textured pumpkin. With 16 quarts, I should be able to make all the pumpkin recipes that I've been pining to make this fall! It lent a slightly disturbing touch to my kitchen, though, I have to confess; giant orange bananas were not the motif I've been going for.
Besides all the produce I lugged home weekly, (because apparently I didn't grow quite enough of my own?)--I'd been eyeing these handmade shopping bags most of the summer and was able to snatch one up before she'd completely sold out of them! Now I can take this snazzy bag with me when I shop instead of the tacky one that badly needed to be retired.
I do have some tweaking and rethinking to do over winter, however, to make next summer even better. This weekend begins the winter market, once a month all winter. I'm grateful for the break from a once or twice a week market, but by next spring I will be SO ready to be back outside at my market stand.