Market plans, 10/23

So, to be honest, we’re really torn on whether to come to market this weekend. First, the weather forecast calls for showers and thunderstorms overnight through Saturday morning, which always depresses market attendance. Second, it’s homecoming weekend at MU with an especially big football matchup, meaning ESPN is in town and all the festivities will be even more hectic than usual. I don’t care at all about college football, but pay enough attention to MU’s schedule to know that any day with a home game hurts market attendance and our income, and homecoming means an especially slow day. So the combination of rain and extra-serious football fever means, to me, a really crappy market day. This is not to begrudge football fans their enjoyment, but it’s simply true that our business relies on weekly income in a narrow weekend time period and any events (games, festivals) going on in Columbia tend to draw a certain number of people away from the market or at the very least suppresses their spending as they’re saving some money for the other happening.

I don’t particularly want to do all the prep/harvest work Friday, get up before 6 on Saturday, and sit in the cold rain for four hours to make a few hundred bucks from the most loyal customers who still come out in such circumstances. On the other hand, after skipping last week, we have a large batch of really nice lettuce and mixed greens that really need to be harvested and sold soon while they’re at their prime. So if I skipped market I’d have to try and move this harvest to restaurants, who may or may not be interested in a one-time batch and who won’t pay as high a price as market retail. I also feel a responsibility to regular customers to be back after our short hiatus.

We’re going to do the harvest work on Friday, since that has to be done either way. I’m likely to make a final decision when I wake up to the alarm Saturday morning; if the radar is full of storms that’s the last straw and I’m going back to sleep. If it’s light or almost over, I’m coming in and we’ll find out if the football=crappy market trend continues. In the event that we come, here’s what we’ll have.

A mix of many shapes, colors, and flavors of baby lettuce, very tasty in all salads.

A mix of small greens including arugula, mustard, tat soi, kale, mizuna, and more; excellent for stronger salads or light sautes.

Various colors of midsize fall radishes; those I sampled this week were sweeter than I expected in this extended warm spell. They still have some bite but are tasty for those who like true radish flavor.

Our pepper plants have been surprisingly resilient through regular light frosts the last few weeks, despite the okra, tomatoes, and cucumbers all recieving more damage. So we did one more harvest before pulling the plants on Wednesday, and will bring a few tubs of these fresh mixed green and colored peppers for those who want them.

Parsley, sage, thyme, mint.

And coming up on a different weekend when I think I can sell them:

Good-sized leafy cabbages, lovely for fresh coleslaw or salads. We’ve also made good kraut with these. They’ll hold in the field, slowly growing, until I’m ready to cut them.

We’re waiting on colder weather for these; they should improve with some truly cold nights.

On our last market day, we sold out of our season’s supply of garlic intended for sale. We are now part-way through the process of planting next season’s ~2,000 heads. This always results in some leftovers as we save more than we need to ensure the right planting quantity (as there are always rejects or other unforeseen situations). Once planting is finished, within the next few weeks, we’ll probably end up with a grab-bag of leftover heads of various varieties for sale. Or if there aren’t many we’ll just keep them for ourselves. But there’s a decent chance we’ll sell some as our saved planting stock is of high quality and would be worth selling.

We have one more bed of peanuts unharvested, in a higher area which has not yet received frost. These will be harvested next week. If the yield is good we’ll consider bringing another small batch to market for those who enjoyed the first round (I heard from several who did). No promises, though.

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