I romanticized about being a farmers' market vendor for many years. I love the atmosphere, meeting all the people, making delicious food and, well, in my mind there is some status or caché in being at the market.
|Bread is baked on Friday.
It should be no big surprise that I sought out the market when I moved to my little city. I had big dreams, high hopes and then found that it was just a few tables at the mall. That did not dampen my spirits and I jumped right in. After trying several baked products it seemed that they liked my rustic breads. Then it was my scones, especially my saskatoon berry and white chocolate scones. And my healthy dips. My menu grew to the point that I am thinking 'who am I anyway?' One cannot make money with one or two products in my little city. So the large menu remains.
It was a welcomed surprise when the City decided to create Market Square downtown. They invited us to participate and even bought a big tent to house us. Now the market is exactly what I have dreamed about. There is music and fun, food and lots of people enjoying being out and about. Kids and dogs are tagging along. Everyone welcomes the opportunity to buy fresh baking, vegetables and crafts.
However, I had no idea how much work was involved. I have scheduled baking 4 days of the week to have enough product for Saturday. After the market on Saturday I sit down with a glass of wine and unwind. I count my money and prepare the float for next week. I plan the amounts and menu for the following week. I make my grocery shopping list. And then off to bed by about 7:30pm.
Sunday is my cleaning and shopping day. This week it included sweeping out half of the area under the big tent. It was necessary and the city kept putting it off. So now we have nice clean stalls. The city did clean the other half two weeks ago. I stopped sweeping when I felt a blister coming on. Today I lay down at 2pm for a 2 hour nap.
Monday is my only complete day off!
|On Tuesday I make 144 - 168 white chocolate and saskatoon berry scones plus 48 cheddar and jalapeno by hand.
|Cinn Buns mixed on Thursday and baked on Friday.
|I add my logo to all my grocery bags. I spend a night making a big batch of them!
I personalize all my shopping bags and labels by hand. I buy packaging products by the case. I have learned more about flour than I ever knew I could. I have a deck oven that bakes 10 loaves on a stone. I have a $700 blender! I have hired a student to help me out. Oy! Sometimes I wonder how I got here! I just wanted to do a bit of simple baking!
And the list goes on. Marshmallows, rosemary raisin crisps, chipotle pepita brittle, Vietnamese fresh rolls, fruit smoothies, and other specialty items as the spirit moves me.
Phew! I'm tired already. My feet ache. My back hurts. I don't eat all day long and wake up during the night hungry. My hair is always tied back.
Then it is the euphoria of market day. We spend the day in fun and happy engagements with all the eager buyers lining up at the stalls, waiting for the 10am opening bell. The end of the day is almost melancholy as we say our good byes to each other and look forward coming together again next week.