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Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

Posted by wizardnm (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 29, 12 at 13:42

In two weeks I'll start selling at a local farmers market. I'm doing jams and baking and a friend is selling produce. It's the first time for both of us.

I'm open to all suggestions and ideas. What have you bought? What would you like to find? Do you remember what you paid?

I walked the farmer's market yesterday and looked at prices. This is in an upscale resort town, right across the street from the main business district and in the park over looking the yacht harbor. There is a small cruise docked right now that cruises the Great Lakes with about 150 passengers.

If you have done baking for a farmers mkt, what do you find you can do ahead? What are your best sellers? Please add recipes if you can.

Any packaging ideas?

One thing I'm planning on making is the Pretzel Rolls. I just received my order for the actual pretzel salt. I'm trying to be a bit different than others, there is at least 10-15 other baking booths. The big thing here seems to be bagels, scones and quick breads. Pies are also pretty big, in the $12.00 to $15.00 range. I'm wondering about doing a 5" pie and a hand held (like a turnover but with a butter crust).

Nancy


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RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

I think you can easily charge $7.00 for a jar of one of your special preserves....thinking 8 oz jar.
At the farmers' markets I have been to...breads seem to be big...ours here is in the late afternoon and "something for dinner" goes well...like a baguette or another bread to serve with dinner....as well as desserts...like 6 brownies or 6 cookies.

I would think stuff like pretzel rolls would go well...or cheese rolls or bread....something different than raisin bread or white sandwich bread.

Tea breads can be made ahead....as can preserves of course, but I think rolls and baguettes still warm from the oven are best.
Could you perhaps feature a fresh from the oven, bread or roll each week and fill in with tea breads and preserves.
Make the dough the night before and shape and bake morning of.

If the market gets a lot of cruisers business, you might consider "cocktail snacks"...like cheese bites and perhaps things like wedges of savory tarts....or even small 4 inch tarts....I can see tomato basil tarts, onion garlic tart, a blue cheese quiche..in a 4 inch tart shell....to take back for cocktail snacks.
Good for you....won't you have fun!!


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RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

If you are doing yeast breads, you could make a recipe of refrigerator rolls on Wednesday and have the dough ready for baking on Friday.

Think about having your best selling baked goods on a regular basis so folks can order for the next market day if they want. Some people get a little testy if they show up at 10 a.m. to get their favorite treat and you are sold out!

Here is one of the recipes I have used when baking at the Farmers' Market:

Overnight Refrigerator Rolls

2 pkgs yeast
2-1/2 cups warm water (105-115�)
3/4 cup soft shortening ( I use butter)
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs beaten
8-8-1/2 cups flour (I often use bread flour)
2-1/2 teaspoons salt
Add yeast to water and mix; add rest of ingredients (down to flour) and 4 cups flour. Beat one minute with mixer or spoon until smooth. Add rest of flour. Mix flour into batter (you can even use your hands, just get it all incorporated.) cover large bowl with greased wax paper and then seal it well with plastic wrap.

You can keep it up to 5 days in the fridge.

Next day let it warm up some. Then pinch off the dough to make rolls. Place them in a buttered pan and let rise until doubled as usual and bake.

This can be used for sweet rolls or doughnuts.

Bake rolls at 400F for about 20 minutes until nicely browned.


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RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

I also sell at Farmers Market and like to buy one treat for myself. Small serving that you can eat while you shop always sell well maybe sell a cup of coffee to go with it. My fav is rasberry cream cheese raised cinnamon rolls I put my order in before the market starts as I need to be in my booth when the bell rings they sell out quickly. My other fav is special K bars I can not make my own as I would eat the whole pan. Our market is Tue and Thur 3:30-6:00 and Sat 8:00-12:00. Good food is not cheap and cheap food is not always good. Patty


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RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

Nancy, your idea of a turnover with butter crust pastry is a good one. The small historical village near me has a bakery that sells them year round - fillings according to the season. They are a 5-6" circle folded in half, generously filled and sprinkled with sugar. They will cut them in half if you want to share. The pastry is devine - all butter for sure.
Jane


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RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

We have a really good local farmer's market for a fairly small town. It was rated best in Maine last year - there is a very dynamic group of people involved. There is a range of products - produce, cheeses, meats, fresh pasta, soaps, herbal remedies, fruit, cider, tea/coffee, a gluten free baker and really good breads.

The breadmaker makes a really good range of products from softer slicing sandwich breads to whole grain eastern european bread. He makes really good pretzels - and they always sell out. So it's always a matter of whether you get to the FM in time for pretzels or not.

For value added product ie jams, cheeses herbal - nice packaging helps. So I pick up a jar - need a hostess gift and there it is. And my gift becomes advertising for you...

Also something to drink is alway nice - lemonade or cider. Especially if you are gearing towards food to snack on right there. Recently a cafe opened up in the localFM - they have a small menu of smaller inexpensive dishes made from local products and places to sit.

Enjoy and experiment!


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RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

Linda, you are right, I want to do something different than the usual. Pretzel rolls will be new to these folks.
Savory items for appetizers and snacks to go with a glass of wine should do well also, I just have to be careful, basically, if it's an item that needs refrigeration (like quiche) I can't do it from a non-licensed kitchen. I have to stay within the Cottage Food Law.

Teresa, thanks for that recipe, I like that it can be made ahead.

Patty, raspberry cream cheese rolls sound delicious, I'll look for a recipe.

Jane, glad you like my idea, I live in the fruit belt here and featuring fresh local fruit is one of my goals. I'm picking raspberries any day.

Nancy


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RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

Agmss15, I agree with you on the importance of labeling. I think I have that covered. A friend is working on that for me....I hope...:)

There are two shops in town that sell locally made jams, I managed one of them and was always amazed at the quantity of jams that were sold as hostess gifts and gifts to take home for people. I know their slow sellers, top sellers and things that people asked for that they didn't make. Featuring local fruit was first in importance.

Nancy


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RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

I like cherry raspberry jam. Should sell well in your neck of the woods. Peach maple is another one of my hits, as is peach raspberry frangelico!

Could you get some smaller pie tins and sell small pies? I think that is one of the drawbacks of pies, even when I make a whole one. Not everyone can eat a whole pie or wants one. Half pies don't look all that attractive. Small pies are tarts, but a two serving or four serving sized whole pie would appeal to me.

A few good gluten free items might appeal to some folks, that's the new eating trend. Since a lot of folks are on vacation there, hand food, car food, small servings would appeal.

Another thing you might try, my friends give them to me as hostess gifts and I do like them, are homeade cookie or scone mixes, or dip mixes, you know, the "in a jar" kinds of things. I would not buy them, but they do make nice hostess gifts or just gifts in general for folks who would never make their own, like my mom, for example. She buys all that pre-made stuff.


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RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

We also live in a tourist village. It's packed now for the July 4th holiday. This weekend is our Antique & Wooden Boat Show that attracts lots of families. In general, we're a family friendly type tourist destination.

One of our local bakeries sells giant (6"+) sugar cookies. I see kids all over town tightly gripping one of those cookies. I think parents like them for the kiddos 'cause they make relatively little mess (compared to chocolate and/or fruit treats) and keep the kids occupied for quite a long time. They're not decorated fancy, just a good quality, butter rich cookie with KA's non-melting sugar crystals on top cut with a round, fluted edge cutter. They sell for $2.25/each. A quick walk thru downtown & you'll see several dozen of those cookies if you look down to knee level. (smile)

Sounds like fun. Wish we could do something similar here but CT requires a commercial kitchen. Best of luck & have fun. You've got great experience. I think you'll do very well.

/tricia


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RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

Oh, and I forgot to mention that homeade granola (featuring local dried fruits) in snack packs might be a great item. Or homeade granola bars. Try the recipe for the "clumpy" granola.

Muffins would appeal to me too, always! I love them with coffee in the AM. Turnovers, sweet rolls, who can resist!


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RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

I would love to buy a jar of raspberry chocolate jam.


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RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

Beez.....I'll remember that :)


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RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

I've had this thread saved for a long time:

Mon, Jul 23, 07 at 17:07

I've been fantasizing about making it for a year now, and finally did last night. MAN, is it good! The raspberry flavour is the main thing, and the hint of chocolate rather intensifies it. Mmmmm.

But I did wonder about including the chocolate. I presume it is a recipe considered safe, because I know I got it here (though I uncharacteristically didn't note from whom --- argh, I hate that, I prefer to give credit where it is due), and don't remember any debate or warnings that would surely have ensued if it wasn't; I would have definitely noticed, because I knew I wanted to try it.

But doesn't chocolate contain fat, in the form of cocoa butter, which is generally a no-no? Anyone know why it is OK? Is it because it's a small amount --- 3 ounces of chocoate in a six pints of raspberries?

Or maybe it's NOT safe, I'm remembering wrong, and I need to keep it in the fridge? (There is, frankly, NO question of not eating it --- it is TOO good!)

I've made 7 cups of potentially toxic deliciousness? (Frankly I would probably eat it anyway, it is SO good!)

Also, any ideas on if it matters what chocolate one uses? The recipe said unsweetened squares, and I used a dark (70% cocoa) slightly sweetened Swiss kind, because the squares available were not as good a quality, and if I was going to the trouble of sieving a bunch of raspberries I wanted to start with good ingredients. I assume the only difference is that I ended up adding a wee bit more sugar.

Any thoughts?

Zabby

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RE: About that Chocolate-Raspberry Jam

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* Posted by ksrogers EasternMass Z6 (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 23, 07 at 17:40

Hmm.. I would be concerned too. But chocolate, unlike many other fats doesn't seem to go rancid, so it may be ok.. There are extracts of chocolate flavoring and these have no fat added.

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* Posted by readinglady z8 OR (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 23, 07 at 19:11

I think you may be talking about Christine Ferber's recipe? Didn't Melly post it?

Generally chocolate isn't "approved" in jams on this side of the ocean, for just the reason you mention, the fat content. However, I would guess that is the assumption; I'm not sure any testing has actually been done. I'm not convinced a little fat in a high-acid high-sugar product is that big a risk. I would be concerned about something like a home-canned fudge sauce with chocolate and dairy, which is a different thing.

Approved recipes I've seen use cocoa, which I just wouldn't put in a raspberry preserve. Like the banana jam with cocoa.

Personally I wouldn't worry too much but refrigeration sounds like a great option. It's not as if it's going to last very long anyway, LOL!

I forget who recommended it - Dorie Greenspan perhaps? Or maybe Regan Daley? Anyway, she said she routinely subs bittersweet chocolate for unsweetened for just the reason you mention - poor quality - and also for an added smooth unctuousness. I've used bittersweet ever since and much prefer it.

Carol

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RE: About that Chocolate-Raspberry Jam

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* Posted by zabby17 z5/6 Ontario (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 23, 07 at 21:16

Thanks, Carol.

I have popped those jars in the fridge for now but would love to feel confident in it as a canned product is to be able to give some away.

Ken makes an interesting point that chocolate itself seems to be very shelf-stable in a way most fat-containing items aren't. (It EVENTUALLY gets stale, and in the meantime can develop a sort of whitish coating, but that's not harmful or even bad tasting.)

The recipe I used is below. Does anyone recognize where it came from? (That'll teach me not to take note!) Melly, was it you who posted it?

Z

Chocolate Raspberry Jam

6 cups frozen raspberries, crushed or 7 pints fresh raspberries
3 (1 ounce) unsweetened chocolate squares
4 cups sugar
1 box powdered pectin
� tsp margarine or butter

Crush berries thoroughly, 1 cup at a time. If using frozen berries, use both liquids and solids; they were all part of the original fresh berry. (Sieve 1/2 of the pulp to remove some of the seeds if desired. You can sieve it all if preparing from those with dental problems. Removing seeds causes waste, so be sure you have enough berries.).

Measure 6 cups of crushed fruit into a 6-8 quart heavy non-reactive saucepan. Break the chocolate squares into smaller pieces and add them to saucepan.

Stir pectin into fruit and add butter. Bring to a full rolling boil. Boil for EXACTLY 1 MINUTE, stirring constantly. Quickly stir in sugar. Return to full rolling boil and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Skim off any foam and ladle the jam into hot sterilized pint or half-pint canning jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Process for 10 minutes in a BWB. Makes 6-7 half pints.

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Phew!

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* Posted by zabby17 z5/6 Ontario (My Page) on
Mon, Jul 23, 07 at 21:31

OK, I couldn't find anything with the GW search but a Google search turned up this thread from here from '05.
Gardengrl posted the recipe I used and Melly weighed in with some variations and excellent advice.

My apologies to both for not having noted their contributions!

Linda Lou has OK'd it so I am going to give it away with confidence. (My best friend is a chocoholic, and especially loves it combined with fruit; she's going to be my witness at my wedding and I have been looking for little giftie things --- not expensive, just special for that person --- to give the folks who are helping me out, and one reason I made this recipe was thinking it would be a nice part of a gift basket for her.)

I like a soft set as well, but my pectin version didn't set even that far, at least so far, though it is pretty thick for a sauce. I think I did not let it boil hard enough before the sugar. When I saw how hard it boiled for that second minute, after the sugar, I decided the previous minute might not have really been a "roiling boil" of the same magnitude.

It is really surprisingly delicious. A little sweet for my taste, but I am NOT a big fan of chocolate/fruit combos --- generally I love chocolate and love fruit but prefer them separate. But this is lovely, not very chocolatey -- just a very intense raspberry flavour with a hint of chocolate, such as to sort of, as I said, intensify the berry flavour. Really nice.

But now I want to try the Mes Confitures version, too! I wish I'd thought to Google this thread before I made it. A little less sweet would be perfect.

Well, something to look forward to for NEXT year....

Z


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RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

We were in Santa Fe a few months ago and went to the Farmers Market and picked up lunch. We LOVED the Foccacia and bought two with different toppings and some fresh goat cheese and some fruit.
Think about a two person Foccacia.


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RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

I also agree on muffins, and things that can be bought singly, although bread always seems to sell well.

Good luck, Nancy, you know what sells and what doesn't and since you had the deli I think you have an advantage in that you know the business. I think you'll do great!

Annie


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RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

I have been craving Annies Onion Braid bread for the last few days, I wonder if you could make that in "roll size" with a tablespoon of the onion filling in each one. And I think pretzel rolls would be a hugh hit too. Jams using local in season fruit are going to be a hit - I don't think there is a flavor you could go wrong on.

Best of luck!

Alexa


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RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

We are in Colorado this week; we pass a sign everyday advertising a Sunday Farmers Market and it's in a trendy area. I'll drag Ray to the market just for you my friend and report back.


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RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

Thanks Cathy, have fun and find some goodies!

Great ideas here. I'm going to be testing recipes this week. Everyone's input is very helpful.

Please continue to add ideas.

Nancy


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RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

I'd like to find chutneys and relishes.


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RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

How about individual squares of baklava? I would buy that too.


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RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

Everyone here has some good suggestions for what to sell, but I think you should remember this one thing: you can't be everything to all buyers! You will work yourself to death if you try to make breads, pies, quiches, jams/jellies, artisan breads, relishes, granola, coffee, etc. etc.

It makes more sense to me to start small and expand. Decide that you are going to be "the Bread and Jam Lady" or "Nancy's Sweet Treats." Get a little notebook and make a list each market day of what you have to sell and how each item sells that day. Doesn't have to be complicated, just what your brought and what you sold.

If there are 3 other vendors that sell bread and no one selling pies - well, there's a niche for you. Keep your packaging simply - folks don't want to pay for frou-frou ribbons and boxes. I have seen the fancy packaging put right away in the trash so the customer could get to their cookies (not my product BTW).

Just my opinion,
Teresa


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RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

Not much to report back from FM in Boulder area. It's 104 degrees here perhaps that's why there only 24 vendors at one market and 12 at another. Since we are leaving tomorrow, I couldn't purchase much to taste test but overall the baked goods at both were beautiful, good variety, and well priced.

  • Jumbo muffins were common-$3
  • Variety of large bread loaves-$6
  • I bought a huge (6" across and 1 1/2" thick) cinnamon/sugar pretzel-$3
  • Biscotti was consistent with vendors-$1.50 @ and by the pound
  • One cookie vendor sold jam-filled cookies for $20 @ pound
  • Cupcake pops seemed to be popular-$1.50 @

    One bread vendor had such beautiful loaves in 10 varieties and displayed in lovely small woven laundry style baskets with linen towels covering the loaves. The foccacia was impressive-thick and 8" across with 2 varieties for $6. She said the whole grain and garlic were the best sellers.

    There was only one pickle & relish vendor and no jams so nothing to report there. Sorry I couldn't provide more details about taste.

    Good luck!


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    RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

    Teresa, I already thought about making a weekly list. I'll keep track of sales. I agree that you can't be all things to all people. I'm going back to the market this coming Thursday to check things out again. I really don't want to step on established vendors toes...

    Cathy, very good info, thank you. Cinnamon sugar pretzels sound good, haven't seen anything like that around here.

    Nancy


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    RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

    Be careful about offering relish, pickles, salsas, chow-chows, chutney, and other acidified foods - I recommend that you do not until you find out the rules and plan to follow them. The FDA has very strict laws about them being produced in a home kitchen (as well as commercially - the same rules apply) and they have to be made under the supervision of one who has taken the FDA course for acid and acidified food manufacturing, has each product listed with them (usually after having a Food Safety Lab testing done), along with their "food manufacturing facility" being registered with them, and that has a written plan for national recall in the event of contamination or botulism in their acidified product. I know a lot of little old ladies sell their brined pickles at farm stands and Markets but they are usually totally illegal. On the other hand, fermented pickles are not regulated and can be sold without any FDA involvement. Go figure.

    Also, nothing canned using a home pressure canner is allowed to be sold in the US.

    Most jams and jellies are fine as there is no risk of botulism because of the sugar content and naturally occurring acid in fruits (low pH).

    I've been selling at Market for 5 years now. I expanded my 65 varieties of jam offerings with old fashioned baked goods and then added gluten free baked goods. If you go GF you must be so very careful about cross contamination with wheat flour (which can hang microscopically in the air for days and can stay in the "pores" of metal baking pans even after washing). I am the only "retail bakery" in NC to have approval by the NC Dept of Ag to offer both wheat based and gluten free products from the same "facility". Think of gluten as being a deadly virus and that is how you must treat baking gluten free, it is not just substituting wheat flour for another non-gluten flour.

    For both baked goods offerings the things that sell best are cookies to walk around with to eat, but not by the dozen, and breads/rolls of any kind to take home, and scones. Cupcakes and pies never sell no matter how pretty, slices of cake don't either unless they are pound cake or angel food. Even candy sits there though people comment, "Oh, look there's fudge", they don't buy it. Don't bother with fancy packaging but do be mindful of labeling, display of prices, and you must have a list of ingredients either on each product or on a paper they can take with them.

    Another guarantee is that diabetics will always come to your sweets table. Since I do not use chemicals in my products, I do not have anything they can eat. If you want to appease them you'll have to do a whole lot of research for cals and carbs.

    Nancy


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    RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

    DH went to a farmers market in Arvada, CO weekend before last and brought me a loaf of sourdough bread, a jar of "ant d's strawberry raspberry jam", and a jar of "ant d's blueberry pie preserves". There's a cute little ant on the label. DH is going to school down there, but I'm still living in Wyoming, so there there was a week in between his purchase and delivery to me. I was surprised to discover when I got into in this morning that the bread is just loose in a grocery bag, not wrapped in a clear bag with a twist-tie or saran wrap. In spite of that, it's still soft and tastes pretty fresh. I wonder if it could be the same vendor that Mustangs saw in Boulder? Or perhaps pretty, loose loaves of bread are a FM trend that hasn't made it here?

    We have tiny little farmers markets up here in Wyoming (pretty short growing season), and my town's is on Wednesdays from 3-8, I think (maybe starting this week? I'll have to find out). We only made it there once last year and wanted to buy a rhubarb pie but were beat to it; I think we settled for chocolate zucchini bread, though it goes against my grain to buy something I can make easily. I'm much more likely to buy something that looks tricky or has unusual ingredients or flavor combinations. I'm intrigued by your pretzel rolls!


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    Rhubarb typo!

    *edit - I just realized I typed strawberry RASPBERRY jam above, when it should have been strawberry RHUBARB jam! Not that it matters greatly, but I was trying to help Nancy in regards to what people might go for, and we go for anything with rhubarb!


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    RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

    Nancedar, Great information. I wondered why there weren't more jellies and pickles.

    Jessica, It could have been the same vendor. I was questioning her trying to get information to share with Nancy and she mentioned that she bakes for several weekend markets. She didn't wrap in plastic either but she did say there with no preservatives so obviously the bread didn't last as long.

    *We planned to get to Wyoming this trip but didn't make it. Pretty up there.


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    RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

    Most venders I know sell out jams and pickles by the end of the season. So need to wait for new crops to come in so they can make new. The only thing I had left was blueberry jam not a big seller. I maybe should have made part of what I made with hot peppers. Best seller is rasberry hot pepper or strawberry hot pepper.


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    RE: Farmers Market---What have I gotten into?

    Michigan just passsed the "Cottage Food Law", so a dedicated and inspected kitchen is no longer necessary for some items, including jams and jellies and baked goods. Things like pickles or low acid vegetables are excluded.

    Now stands selling bread/cookies/etc and jams/jellies/fruit syrups are cropping up at all the farmer's markets. I think that's a good thing.

    Annie

    Annie


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