Our market season plans are coming into focus, so here’s an update for interested customers. A few really good things have happened lately that help us look forward to the season.
1) At the Farmers Market membership meeting Tuesday night, we finally secured a permanent stall location. 2010 will be our fourth year selling, and we were more than ready to have a reserved location where customers would know to look. Most stalls at the market are “owned” by farmers/businesses, who have first dibs on a location by seniority (continous membership) and who pay extra to reserve a stall. Once you’ve got one, you can keep it forever as long as you pay. Many farms own two, and some even own three. Thus, younger/newer farmers need to bide their time and earn their dues, waiting for a few slots to open up each year due to natural turnover. Anyone who doesn’t own a stall gets into any given market on a first-come basis, and is slotted wherever the market manager can fit them. Sometimes there isn’t enough room.
For the first three years, we’ve been too low on the pecking order, and haven’t been able to get a slot. Last year, I simply made sure to arrive at market before 6:30 am every Saturday to make sure I got into the first-come-first-serve slots that remain once all the permament stalls were full. We were fortunate that the market manager does a very good job of trying to keep locations consistent, so she was able to keep us in the same place most of the year. But any given week we could have lost that place. Now we’re guaranteed a place, albeit for an extra $150/year. Worth every penny. We’ll be on the northern (school) side of the market, down toward the far end, between Dwyer’s Pork and Stanton Brothers Eggs (they also got their first stall, next to us).
2) We held our last interview visit this afternoon with a potential worker, and feel that we have a really good set of three folks lined up to help us out this year. They’re all eager, hard-working, well-referenced, and really interested in what we do. I think we’ll enjoy their company greatly, and their help will be integral to our significant expansion. As discussed earlier, we’re paying in farm products this year, such that each worker in effect receives a full CSA share including access to fresh milk and eggs. We’re not legally allowed to pay in cheese or meat, but raw products are ok. Everyone is interested in learning to make cheese & yogurt, and in canning & preserving produce, so I think we’ll have some fun afternoon/evening slots where we can have a cheese or canning party together.
We expect to start selling at market in late April. We’ve gotten a few beds of lettuce seeded under plastic, and will start seeding peas, radishes, and more as soon as this last winter storm moves through this weekend (forecast calls for rain/snow and lows below 30). We’ll start out (hopefully) with a mix of radishes and greens, and go from there. We’re excited.