Market Checklist

Phone No.: 814-777-6832

... the 434-326-0902 is a Google number that rings through to the above, but sends texts directly to email -- which I won't have access to -- so go with the 814 number.

Days out

I am gone Friday morning -- 10'ish -- to Sunday afternoon/evening. You can have the run of the place any time between then. Say, Friday 10am to Sunday 5pm. But feel free to come late Friday, or leave early Sunday. I can text on the way back to give an ETA.

House

I think we showed everything to Lizzie.  Feel free to put the ladder up or keep it down. Sleep on the deck, the loft, the floor, wherever.

If you wanted to dump your compost toilets when you leave, paper bags and all, so easy-- down the path along the cedars a little bit to a straw-bale compost pile -- that'd be cool, but we can do that too.

There's old ginger frozen in the tiny house freezer. You can take it home if you want! Is it still good?

Zach, don't bump your head on the porch-to-deck threshold. Actually, we call it a "dock," not a deck. :) For the houseboat, you know ...

Greenhouse watering in the morning by 10 o'clock is nice. And a double-check around 3 o'clock is also nice.

Market Times

  • 6:15 pack for market
  • 6:45 leave for market
  • 7:00 arrive at market
  • 8:30 market starts
  • 1:00 market ends

I don't know what these times mean for you regarding sleep/wake-time, breakfast, etc.  I like to take some water and snack to market, and thus tend not to eat breakfast before, as it gives me a little more time to sleep. :) I can't imagine it would take you two more than 30 minutes to pack and care for the greenhouse, so I've set 6:15 as the time to start. You can work back from that to figure your morning alarm.

Farm pack-up

First things first:

  1. This long list makes it seem like a lot ... but just use your head, and it will work.
  2. Water the seedlings.
  3. Set the greenhouse sides appropriately for the day. If there's a chance of rain on a hot day, maybe put it 1/2 to 3/4s down. Full-on rain = all the way down. Sun = all the way up.
IMG_4438.JPG

Empty Truck. Annoying (annoyingly heavy) canopy weights to the left. Tables in the back. Wooden flower protector empty for flowers. Canopy just hanging out for now. Don't drive with it like that! :)

IMG_4443.JPG

The walk-in fridge will have market things on the left side, toward the front. Likely a cooler, and a few bins, plus flowers. Whatever is on the right, back, etc. can be left alone. You can fit up to 8 buckets of flowers under the wooden protector in the truck. Watch their heads as you slide them in.

The bins: x1 "Box Share" for a CSA pick-up, x3 veggies & husk cherries. There will also be a bag of kale & beans somewhere in there, as I accidentally let them run-out for a moment at the pick-up, and a member is stopping by for what she missed. It's labeled, "CSA Cheree," or something to that effect. I may or may not put the tomatoes & basil for the CSA box in the fridge with their other veggies -- as it's bad for tomatoes & basil to get that cold --but I might, as that's easier for you. )

In the greenhouse is the cart with market supplies, and dried corn, etc. It's staying dry there, otherwise I would have just put it in the truck for you. :)

IMG_4445.JPG

Everything is all ready to go. The canopy weights are useful for keeping the bucket lids from flying off ... as they likely would. The sign is in its bag -- and hopefully staying dry for the ride -- with weights keeping it in. Just use your head, and fit things as you wish.

Money for change will be in the front of the truck in a metal tin. It's $100 in mostly $5s and $1s. Whatever you pay yourself for market, just be sure to leave the $100 back in the bin -- again, aiming for $90 in $5s, $10 in $1s.

My quick mental checklist:

  • Veggies?
  • Money?
  • Bags? -- in with the sign in the black bag.
  • Table?
  • Canopy?
  • Snacks, water, hat, etc. for myself?

It's a 15 minute drive to the market. I try to get there by 7:00, so I leave at 6:45.

Market Set-up

market spot.png

Our spot is top-most, middle ... as you can see. Where we were last year, though this year we're set-up a little differently.

IMG_4446.JPG

First, if you ever think, "That's so stupid, I wouldn't do that ..." Then just do what you want. :) And teach me. :)

1) I pull up, as you see, and unload everything into the slanty mulch as best as I can, with just the canopy/tent out in the parking area. This makes it easier to pull the canopy out and put it up. To get the tables out, you need to loosen the ratchet strap. Watch fingers and feet for falling wooden-thingy. When I drive off, I make sure it's in the bed, so it doesn't fall out in transit. Ooops. :) (See Below)

IMG_4447.JPG

2) I drive off, and park in a far corner. If it's a hot day, I definitely put the windows down. Just take the keys with you, as there's nothing of value in there. So long as you remember the money for change! :) :) Photo shows wooden thingy safely hanging-out.

3) Canopy goes up. (See picture below). This is a pretty easy one. a) The cover zips off. b) arrange so feet are at the bottom, duh. c) someone on one side, someone on the other, and pull out, carefully. d) pop under it and push up on the bows from the bottom. It should expand to full size. e) push up at the corners, from below, until they click into place. you cans see the mechanism pop out. don't worry about clicking the middle posts. e) get it relatively in place: along the parking lot edge, and 6 footsteps up from the end of the painted line -- i.e, 6 feet into the drive-way. (picture below) It's easier to position it now, before it's tall and wonky. g) raise -- two dots showing, I believe  -- by pulling up: it helps to put your foot on the canopy's foot as you do this. h) snap the funky corner clips on to the posts, as this keeps the fabric tight. i) reposition into place, as it has probably moved by now. j) velcro the weights onto the four corners. k) step back and see that it looks right/good. There is a chance that some of the fabric isn't hanging over the edge correctly -- that is, it's caught back -- and that's easy to just pull over to the correct side.

IMG_4448.JPG

The larger table has a red locking mechanism on one side of it. Make sure it's 'locked' and the rings slide down. The other table just needs the rings to be in place.

IMG_4451.JPG

 

First I set-up the basic infrastructure -- tables, table cloths, bins, sign, etc. ....

If it's a really hot day, I scoot the tables to the left edge of the canopy -- as you look at this photo. If it's a cloudy day, I scoot them to the right. The sun comes in from the right, and likes to bake the flowers, so we go left. But we get lost in the mix, so we want to go right. :) Also, note that the tables are 2-3 feet up from the back curb. We're letting people get in, should it be raining, and also giving shade to the produce.

There should be an aisleway where I stood as I took this photo. The doughnut lady and I keep it open, as it helps with market flow, and our sales! :)

The tablecloths go down to the bottom, to hide our mess below. If it makes sense to tuck an edge under something -- like the table foot -- you can do that, so folks don't trip.

Far left:

  • 2 gray bins with market supplies, and backdrop to the sign. The larger rock in the bucket keeps the sign up!
  • 1-2 coolers, with lids opening such that folks can have the better view. That is, you would pull the lid up and back to yourself as you stood behind the table.

Far right:

  • An empty table, waiting for the flowers.
  • I've clipped the farm logo to the table, so folks know who we are.

So far so good. We're ready for the produce.

IMG_4452.JPG

This is basically how it looks. If I can get the produce all out at once, I do; otherwise I keep extra back and re-fill as needed. I don't have the flowers made into bouquets just yet, so they aren't in their ball jar vases along the front, as I normally would have them.

left to right:

  1. newsletter sign-up & csa info on clipboards -- which I just made ready & up-to-date for this weekend.
  2. dried herbs
  3. popcorn -- 3-4 per pint.
  4. on the grey bin: quart containers with labels for what's in the cooler(s). if there's a lot of space, they can go down in front of the coolers, though i have the feeling the fresh hot peppers will take a bit of space
  5. dried peppers - 1/2 pint tills. i may or may not send these, as we'll have fresh.
  6. fresh veggies onward.

Quantities

  •     1/2 pt tills: cherry tomatoes (to overflowing), husk cherries. watch for splits in both of these.
  •     pt tills: okra, soybeans
  •     qt tills: snap beans (to overflowing)
  •     ... there is a confusing laminated sheet with crops, lbs/$2.50, and container size/style.

Clip labels to the table cloth. I put them on the right corner, to help with legibility.

IMG_4453.JPG

You may have to update the sign with the week's herbs / greens. There is a rag and some chalk -- in a metal, pencil-like container -- plus flower-water to clean, if need be. But as of this moment, it's up-to-date.

Note that the rock is not yet in place, as it's normally at the sign, holding it steady.

Prices:

  • Veggies: 2 for $5 (1 for $3, if they don't get an even number ... but it's relatively easy to upsell to a round $5).
  • Hot Peppers: I haven't tried to sell these fresh yet, but I would put them out in the white buckets, as they are, and sell 11 for $5 (50 cents each). 15 for $5 if they're tiny.
  • Flowers: $5, or 3 for $10.
  • Herbs: "What you want for what you want." Is what I usually say. Then people say, "What?" And I say, "I mean, take the quantity you want, and name a price." Usually people super-duper-lowball, because they don't have any idea how expensive it is to produce fresh herbs. So, unless they want to buy the whole bag and no one else has been interested, I usually don't just give it away. :) But if someone wants just a wee bit for a $1, I'm more than happy to do that. It's when they want it all for $5. :)
IMG_4475.JPG

These are the hot peppers for market. I'm cool with 11 for $5, unless they're really tiny. Or, don't even bother with the tiny ones. :)

  1. Maule's Red Hot -- Red, Big, Funky
  2. Bulgarian Carrot -- Orange, Medium
  3. Sarit Gat -- Yellow, Long
  4. Czech Black -- Dark Red, Small'ish
  5. Ring of Fire -- Red, Medium
  6. Hot Paper Lantern -- Red, Small'ish

I will have their labels in the market bin ...

IMG_4455.JPG

Then I start to make bouquets, adding them to the ball jars as I go.They are $5 each, so don't go too crazy. :) In this photo the jar on the left has one bouquet, the jar on the right has two. Sometimes I'm not done by 8:30, when market starts, but that's no problem at all. It's a quiet market, so I just make bouquets until I feel like I have enough.

There are snips and rubber bands in the market supply bin. And there is usually a spare bucket or bin at this point for compost from snipping the bouquet bottoms.

When I am done making bouquets -- I can get 12 into the 4 jars, with 3 in each jar -- I re-sort the remaining buckets to make a fair display on the table. Some folks want to choose their own from that, or to have a zinnia- or tithonia-only mix, which is fine with me.

At this point, I step out to make sure everything looks good from a patron perspective.

IMG_4456.JPG

It looks pretty good at this point, though the ball jars are going to come down off the coolers -- because that wouldn't work, it's just where I made them -- to the front of the table. Sunflowers don't like the sun -- funny, that -- so I tend to keep them to left, from this perspective.

Market-time

If you're feeling crunched for time, just make the flowers pretty on the table, and then do the bouquets as market progresses. No need to have them all done by 8:30! :)

I'm never pushy, but I am friendly. :)

It's nice to sell the veggies, as that pays for groceries, but I'm really there to sell the CSA. I know it's niche-niche-niche, so I'm very not-pushy, and everyone who gets what's going on, is pushy with me. :)

There are folks coming just for the husk cherries. How exciting! :) Remind them that it has been rainy, and they may have -- or might -- explode in their husk.

Try to get emails, if you can, for those folks who are curious. Let them know it's super easy to unsubscribe.

Kan likes to give little flowers to little girls. You may as well, if it's not creepy! :) :)

I follow eye contact. If someone doesn't glance toward me, I don't bother them. If they glance, you've got them trapped! :) "Good morning! :)"

Smile. :)

There will be regulars. That's nice. :)

If someone wants to pay with a card, I sometimes -- reading the situation -- say, "Betsy, across the way, can take credit cards. If you buy something from her, she can add the cost here to your total, and then just give me the cash back." But only if it's a good quantity -- $10 or more. Otherwise I say that I can take an IOU, if they will be back in the future. Betsy is the one right beside us selling homemade treats -- cookies, brownies, cupcakes, mini-pies, etc.

Truitt & Virginia -- the farmers across from us with all of the customers who don't come or even look our way -- are very, very nice. I like them a lot. And salivate over his good produce. If I were more conventionally-organic, I would have that too, I tell myself. And then I spend the market working on ways to make the farm better, crop by crop. :)

If there's anything perishable left at the end of farm, you could possibly trade it for something. Rupa, the curry lady, likes okra and husk cherries.

There will be a CSA member -- usually the family -- who comes for their box. (They can make maybe 1 out of 26 Wednesday pick-ups, so I make a box. But I'm not doing it again next year! :) :) :) ...) Anyhow, don't forget to remind them that they can take flowers, too!

I don't pack-up until 1 o'clock, even if it has been super slow for an hour. If I make $100 a market, the last $5-$10 sale is actually a big percentage of the whole.

Packing-up

Everything in reverse, basically ...

Everything goes back into its bin, and gets put on the slanty mulch slope.

Consolidate as much as possible, so it fits in the truck well.

The flower buckets get consolidated, and the water gets dumped into mulch NOT where you're packing-up. :)

If it's a hot and sunny day, it's nice to have a hat on before you take the canopy down ... just to stay a little cooler.

The canopy comes down --1) the height gets reduced, 2) the corner locking mechanism gets undone by pressing the nice red release levers -- then 3) we all sing "Come Together" with the Beatles, as we push from opposite ends to each other in the middle. 4) You squish it together and put it back in the zippered-bag.

At this point everything is ready to load. I go back to the truck, drive up any-where or -which way, and start packing ...

  1. Tables go back behind the wooden thingy ...
  2. The wooden thingy gets ratched-strapped in place. Watch your fingers.
  3. Flowers likely go to compost on the farm, so you don't have to put them under the wooden thing if you don't want to. But if they're gorgeous, sure, protect them. :)
  4. Just make sure nothing is going to fly away on the drive back.

Say "Bye bye" to any vendors with whom you made friends. :)

You have the money, right? :)

Back at the farm

Wooh! Congratlations! You're back!

Weights stay in the truck! Hip-hip.

The canopy stays in the truck, under the wooden thing for rain protection. You may have to lift a corner up to get it to slide in.

The flowers and coolers go into the walk-in.

The compost goes into the compost, unless they're too precious.

Money tin goes in the tiny house.

Anything else can just hang-out in the greenhouse on the middle bench.

Maybe close the truck windows, in case it rains. Then park wherever.

Do greenhouse seedlings need a drink?

Baths are pretty nice at this point.

I'm not joking ... Take a nap! Market always wears me -- and Kan -- out, and I/we get cranky without a nap. :) Usually after snacks. :)

Thank you guys both so much! I hope you had fun.