Farmers Market Report Week 9

wizardnmSeptember 7, 2012

After last weeks windy farmers market, when my canopy was broken, I was eying the weather to decide what to do this week. The forecast was good so I decided to go for it. My friend David decided that he didn't have enough produce to make it worthwhile for him, so I was on my own.

Here's my booth with no canopy this week. I was able to order the parts that broke, so I may have a canopy again. These things sure are fragile. If I do the market next summer I'll have to invest in a more heavy duty canopy.

I took a few shots of some of my goodies...

Blueberry Scones

Pretzel Rolls

Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls

AnnT's Decadent Caramel Rice Krispie Treats

I also had my jams, frosted cinnamon rolls, Asiago bread and pumpkin bread.

I figured it would be a slower market now that Labor Day was pass and the kids are back in school. I was actually pleased with sales.

I was in a new position, close to the center sidewalk.

Sidewalk row to the left and to the right.

There were fewer vendors this week. The USDA inspector came through last week, that may be part of the reason. Others probably won't be back until next year. I definitely need a frosting was melting later in the morning. I hope I can get it fixed for next week.

I signed up to do the Winter Market in the library. That starts Nov 1 and will be every week through May, then it's back outside again. I debated on what to do but it's inside and they furnish the tables so set up will be easy. This will be the first year they are doing it every week. Last year it was just once a month. I guess I feel like I'm supporting the FM, even if it's slow. There are at least 15 vendors already signed up.

Am I crazy?????


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You're adventuresome! I thnk it's great and I would definitely be a regular customer.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 7:46PM
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Farmers' Market in the library! Now there is an idea! Inside out of the cold/damp/snowy weather, a table set up for you, now, if you just get the traffic you need to sell out! I'm wishing good things for you - please do report back how it goes.

I'd kill for one of those blueberry scones about now! Oh, wait....I have blueberries in the freezer. I know what I'm having for breakfast tomorrow morning!


    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 8:58PM
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Hmm. I also have blueberries in the freezer. I'll be strong.

Everything looks delicious. I am especially drawn to those pretzel rolls.

I'm curious why you don't have the same spot each week. It would make it easier for regular customers to find you.

I'm looking forward to your report from the library.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 9:11PM
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Nope, you aren't crazy, you're optimistic. I think the indoor farm market is a great idea, I hope you sell out every week.

Everything looks delicious, BTW.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2012 at 10:17PM
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Jude, thanks, I wish you could be a regular customer too.

Teresa, did you make blueberry scones this morning?
I think the winter market at the new library will be interesting. I can only hope sales are good. They did a good job of building it with a community room but there is only a limited number of spaces, so when it's full that's it. I paid up front for the whole's only $130.00 (if paid in advance) for all seven months.

Eileen, I'm one of the new vendors, that's why my spot keeps changing. The market manager tries to keep us in a cluster with not too much open space. I check in with her when I get there (some do not) as she knows who is not going to show up. It's also because I just did a week to week agreement rather than paying up front for the whole season, so I wasn't really assigned a permanent location. It's worked out pretty well. I keep getting better spots.

Annie, yes I am optimistic, always have been. The thing is, I like to bake but don't want to eat it all and I like the social interaction with the customers and other vendors. The challenge is good for me, can't sit on the computer all day, every day. You know I've been in sales all my life.

I think I'll suspend reports for now. I'm not sure how many are reading this and I don't want to bore people to death.
I'll update once the winter market gets going but that isn't until Nov. 1.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 10:25AM
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Nancy!!! Don't stop the weekly reports!!...many of us love to read and look and drool....even if we don't post a follow up!
As for the winter market...I suggest you stock up on your if there is a week you can't bake you still will have something to sell.
And perhaps as it gets closer to The Holidays, take a stock of baskets and perhaps "Easter grass" and encourage people to fill a basket for a gift!
Thrift shops have a supply of cheap baskets. Scrub them, dunk in a little bleach water and spray with varnish or paint.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 10:50AM
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Nancy, I think it is wonderful that you are going to participate in the Winter Market. I bet your fans will follow you inside.

For the remaining weeks, make sure you let your buyers know that you will be around all winter.

If you haven't done it already, maybe you should create your own business card and or flyer to hand out.

I'm not bored. I love your weekly reports.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 11:05AM
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I enjoy your updates, too.

I think sales will pick up around holidays as well. Will you take special orders for Thanksgiving? Encouraging gift buying is a good idea.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 11:28AM
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I'm not bored with the reports either, please keep doing them. I love seeing what you bring to sell each week and wish I could be a customer. This week I want to take some of your blueberry scones right off my screen. I'm glad you decided to add scones!

I think you will do very well at the library market and wonder if you are going to take orders for the holiday season.

Lee, looking forward to your next report.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 2:10PM
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Oh Nancy, I love your report. Like a lovely travelogue with a focus on luscious baked goods.

I appreciate your entrepeneurial spirit and I love to see women making money creatively-baking-one thing a lot of cfer's do so well. I love details- what you make, what sells, the weather, your cohort, the customers, etc.

Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 4:55PM
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Nancy, I have loved to read your report each week and I love to dream and drool over your pictures.

I have a question. What has been your biggest sellers? I'm thinking about renting a booth at a local festival in October. It's called "Under the Harvest Moon" I haven't done anything like this before with baked goods, jams or produce. Some years ago I was involved in several craft shows with my dried and silk flower wreaths and arrangements.

Since this is a one time sale for me, I would like to bake things that will sell quickly and easily. I have canned many jars of Habanero Gold jam, green tomato relish and canned Jalapeno peppers. All of which I will take, however the baked goods are what I would like to make sure sells in a one time sale. I would really appreciate your thoughts on this.

Thanks and please keep the reports coming.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 5:32PM
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OK, I'll keep the reports coming on the weeks that I am at the market. We are getting into the time of year that the weather will be changing. Even if I do get the canopy fixed, I have to be careful as I now know it won't take much wind.

Karen, dried and silk? From 1988 to 1992 I owned a company that did dried and silk wreaths and arrangements. We sold all over the country and even had products in a couple of mail order catalogs. We were wholesale only and did the gift shows in Chicago. Then the look died and I gave it up when I moved here.

Under Michigan's Cottage food law you are limited on the canning to jams, preserves and jelly. No salsa's, relishes, tomatoes or pickled items or low acid vegetables in general. But you can take your chances since you are doing a one shot festival. We had the USDA guy come through last week and I know several were told they couldn't do some things, those people were MIA this week. Labeling also needs to follow the rules. You should read the law, they are pretty specific.
Baked goods in general are OK as long as they do not contain too much dairy. Cream pies are a no but fruit pies are fine.

Some items I would think about for a Harvest Festival.... Cinnamon rolls if you have morning hours, they won't do as well later in the day. Pumpkin donuts, pumpkin bread, apple breads, cider donuts, apple bars, apple pies, caramel anything....AnnT's recipe for the Caramel Rice Krispie Treats went over big time this week and I'll continue doing those through fall. Caramel corn in bags is another idea. People like to buy goodies they can eat as they walk around and items to take home.

Some things can be made two days ahead, other things you have to do the day and night before. I do the pretzel rolls last, as the salt draws out the moisture and dissolves. That is one thing I wouldn't do for a one shot show.

Don't forget to cut up some things for samples. I keep plastic containers tucked away and offer as needed. If you put them out people will grab them that have no intention of buying.

Hope this helps, you can email me if you have other questions..


    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 6:39PM
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Another vote for the continuation of the reports! I've been feasting on pictures of your products; I took one of each today.

What is the most unusual item that you have seen at your market?

    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 6:57PM
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Thank you so much Nancy for the thorough information and suggestions for variety of fall items. I will read the Cottage Law. I didn't realize you couldn't sell relishes or pickled items.

I do have some other questions that I will email to you.

That is funny about the dried and silk business you had. Mine of course, were hand made and I did this around the same time frame you were doing the same. And, as you said, it died and I stopped making the items. It was fun for a while. Now, I'm dabbling in making "cottage" rag rugs. It's fun so far. I will take some of them to the festival with me and see how they do.


    Bookmark   September 8, 2012 at 7:46PM
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Nancy, I'm so glad you are going to continue to post each week on your farmer's market results. I love to read the posts and see the pictures of your beautiful baked goods.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 3:01PM
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Glad to hear you are continuing your reports Nancy. I enjoy them. Our indoor winter farmer's market does very well. There are many that continue in different surrounding towns through the cold winter months. It is a chance to socialize with friends and see what new items people have at their booths. I hopefully will be selling at a farmers' market come this spring. You and the others that sell their wares have inspired me! And I have already checked out the state requirements for selling and permits etc. Just have to perfect my Blueberry BBQ sauce recipe. Keep posting the photos. They are great! NancyLouise

    Bookmark   September 9, 2012 at 9:52PM
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I too, am a follower of your Farmer's Market posts, and though I rarely comment, I get much enjoyment from both your descriptions and your pictures. I'm glad you've decided to continue them!

Besides that, I love TC/Charlevoix/Petosky and it brings back good memories any time I see pictures of "The Lake"

    Bookmark   September 10, 2012 at 9:01AM
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