Last week I posted that we were enjoying our Indian summer, well, after posting I did some research and figured out that we actually are not having an Indian summer. An Indian summer is unseasonably warm weather in the fall after a good hard frost. Since we have not had a frost or even a cold spell yet, we are not experiencing an Indian summer. We are a just fortunate to still have warm weather, no frost, and produce still growing and producing.
Thanks to this wonderful weather we still have lots of produce and are still able to participate in our local farmers’ market. This is good in some ways and bad in others. We are happy to still be providing our local community with organic, fresh produce and happy to be eating it ourselves. But we are getting tired and worn out; slowing down just like the produce. We have lost our enthusiasm and spunk for all the harvesting and preparing for the market, but we are still at it.
Most people don’t realize how much work it takes to sell at a farmers market, unless you have actually participated in one. And how much determination it takes to keep at it the whole season, May through October. It takes most, if not all day, the day before market to harvest, package and prepare all supplies and products. We are usually up into the wee hours of the night getting ready; especially in the middle of the summer when there is a lot to harvest and get ready. Some weeks we don’t make it to bed until 2 am and then we’re up at 5 am to finish the last minute harvesting and load all that produce. This takes some critical thinking. We load all our boxes/crates/coolers of produce/product, tables, canopy, signs and the family into an excursion. There have been several weeks I don’t know how we have gotten everything in the excursion. When we unload at market, we look like a little car of clowns. You know the cartoon image of clowns that just keep piling out of a little tiny car. Well, that’s us at farmers’ market, people, boxes, coolers just keep coming out of the excursion. We get looks of how did you get all of that in there? We have hopes of having a trailer to haul it all in next year.
Once everything is unloaded, then there is the set up. We set up the canopy and tables. Next come the organizing of several boxes/crates; making the display cute and inviting. There is the rush of getting all this done before the early bird shoppers arrive and before the vendor meeting starts. Then market starts. If we are lucky it is busy and the time goes by fast. But on some days it is slow and time drags by. It may be a very cool day and we bounce around trying to keep warm, it may be a very hot and there is not enough shade for the produce and people or our worst market day was cold and pouring rain. Whatever the day holds, we stand there and sell for four hours of market.
At the end of market, it is time to take it all down. We like to stay open until all the customers have left the market. Then we start to load all the produce/product that we have left. Lastly, we fold up the tables and canopy. There are usually empty boxes that we break down, so the loading to come home is easier, but can still be tricky to get it all to fit back in the excursion. We drive home and it is time to unload again. This is probably the hardest part because we are all tired and hungry. Once unloaded, we head for the house and collapse in the living room for a family movie and time to rest.
For most of September and October, I haven’t had the energy to keep up with all my domestic duties and go to market on Saturdays. So I have bowed out of the farmers’ market routine. I’m thankful for the Other Half taking on the Saturday market work and sells on his own. I ran out of spunk several weeks ago for the pre-dawn loading, chilly morning air while setting up for market and the energy to do rest of the market. Instead, I have put my energy into canning, drying and preserving produce for winter. Another wonderful aspect of farm life; being able to eat your own produce all winter long!