in my 15 years of CSA farming i have sat in on countless market development meetings. whether it be a new farmer’s market initiative or attempts to revitalize an existing venue, the question is almost always the same. how does a market attract and keep farmers, producers, crafters, artisans, chefs and bakers? i always have this humble answer, one that i think is fairly true and surprisingly simple. vendors want to go home with an empty truck and a pocket full of cash.
i don’t mean to be crass, we love the community of the market, we groove with the live music, we celebrate the seasons with timely festivals. but i just want to be clear in saying, market day is long for us farmers, we harvest and pack diligently and our single, number one hope, is to sell our product. marketing vegetables, baked goods, value added products at markets across the country represents the sole source of income for so many of us- a good market day is a necessity.
we brought home a lot of cut flowers this past week. cut flowers are definitely our money maker as most of our vegetables are pre-sold through our CSA (for which i am unendingly thankful) the season is shifting at our market, people are eyeing those pumpkins and thinking of the autumn around the corner, the sparkling summer essence of the zinnias is less enticing i suppose. as we spoke of the market day passed, my daughter lamented that we came home with some beautiful bouquets. we immediately adorned our own home, of course, with the beauty but did notice the financial impact of the market’s seasonal shift.
i encourage you all to keep going to your local farmer’s markets. as you transition to your own fall routines, don’t forget your farmers and food artisans and crafters still selling their wares. we love and appreciate you perhaps more than you could ever know!!