Friday, October 06, 2006
Market lore, and the donkey gets a gig
We had another another fun day at the Farmer's Market in McMinnville. We lucked out with absolutely perfect fall weather, not to mention we had a prime spot this time. Being right next to the cheese booth had its perks too. We had an increase in sales from last week, I think because we made some slight changes to our booth, and we had a better location. Martyn made me a display rack for my greeting cards, which sold well. He took an old levlor door from the barn and we painted it, and voila, instant 6' card holder. Many nice encounters with customers, many seemed excited about our Open Farm Day events for next year, so our mailing list is growing. Perhaps the best thing about a market for the farmer is just getting recognition with local customers, and allowing them to see our personalities and product. I think it takes time for customers to trust you, and know you. If you are genuine, and genuinely believe and love your product and life, it comes through. If you are a copy cat, or don't seem enthused about your life and product, that too comes through.
I'm learning a lot about displays. I've had quite a bit of experience with it over the years, and understand a lot about how the customer thinks, but I have learned even more in the last two markets. I will be constantly learning, I know. I came home with many new ideas about better ways to display and how to make the customer 'get' the product quickly.
Our sculpture pumpkins were a hit, [except to the 4 year old, who declared, "I don't like them"] as were the art cards. But my favorite thing was that many children, and adults, liked my ragdolls. One little girl picked one up and squeezed it for the lavender scent, and just held it tightly, smiling. That just made my day. Another young girl of about 10, who did art herself, just loved our booth and all the lavender and art. She stayed in there for the longest time, just being so enthusiastic about everything, and inspired about the art. She wondered if she could sell her art there someday, and I encouraged her to get a booth and keep making art.
We are also making contacts for our lamb meat sales. It is making the transition to raising some of the sheep for harvesting easier for me. Knowing we are raising a quality product, and raising the animals with care, love and compassion from start to finish, is a satisfying thing. It makes sense to me more and more. A rich land such as America, we could feed all our people if the consumer demanded it.
We ended the day with what might become a tradition. Trading some of our product for some of Oakhill Organics vegetables. I like eating food from people I like, after all, their fingers touch the land and the food, so if I like their energy, it certainly ends up in their vegetables. Who wants to eat vegetables grown by a grumpy farmer? We are hooked on their shallots right now, and tonight I think I will make a stew from some of their produce. It is chilly for the first time, and a glass of red wine with a stew sounds perfect.
And just when I thought the day couldn't get better, I got a donkey gig for Pino Blangiforti who has been invited to be part of the McMinnville Halloween Parade. He insists on going as an apple, which are his absolute favorite thing in the world, but I keep telling him he has to go as a donkey.