I love farmer’s markets.
I try to unravel where exactly this comes from?
Does it come from my childhood and that roadside corn stand?
Do it come from being a Midwestern girl, surrounded by fields?
Was it that first trip to Seattle and the Pikes Place Market that sealed the torrid affair?
I don’t know. I think there are things we are inherently drawn to things. Things that attract us. Often things a part of our calling and a gateway to the talents we possess. Do you ever feel this way? Pulled or drawn into something or someone (I would say I felt that way about my husband too before he was even really a friend)? I feel this way about nature. About a hiking trail. That they seem to call my name. They beckon me to come play and explore.
When I had a vision of my own baking business (while hiking a mountain), my immediate answer to merely starting was: a farmer’s market. I researched how to start. I applied. I got turned down. Once. Then once more. Then I got a surprise email in October that there was an opening for a baker at the market and I was hooked.
Even when my husband talks about future goals and suggests maybe transitioning out of markets, I shut that one down pretty quickly. Because it is more than the business, more than the money. I bake because I feel called to do so. Because I’m good at it. I’m creative. But also maybe most importantly it brings me joy, and I like to think that it brings others joy as well. And even though wholesale sounds exciting, selling to restaurants and grocery stores, being able to get my product to a larger audience (who I feel needs it), it’s missing something. I love markets because of the connection.
I thoroughly enjoy talking to the people eating my product, that truthfully I work really hard for (and also it is a little frightening because you feel vulnerable, your brand and product is an extension of you, which you honestly want people to like). Putting all your energy, your heart and soul, your creativity, all your love into a product is a blissful high, but also a little bit of a drain afterwards because you put so much into it. But it is so rewarding. It’s rewarding to be able to express fully as an artist and baker. It is rewarding to have someone stop at your booth (even if it’s just to talk). It is rewarding when someone lights up and is excited about you and your product. When someone needs what you have, and you can help them, wow, it’s amazing and humbling.
This last year I switched markets because we moved and it has been so amazing. This past couple of weeks have been amazing. And I am humbled and truthfully want to cry afterwards because I am so grateful. It is a bustling market. There are lots of vendors. BIG produce sections that take up 4 slots. There is variety. A variety of meat vendors, soaps, bakers, food trucks, arts, jewelry and more. There are musicians playing interspersed throughout. It’s lively. And beautiful and bustling.
Making a connection to my customer is essential and why I do markets. That’s why I want. To know the person either raising or creating my food. That a human is there, loving and nurturing, using their God-given talents. I love learning from other vendors (and customers).
You form a bond with your fellow vendors. I have friends from the Terre Haute market that I’ve been to their home, went kayaking together, and collaborated with. The people behind your food, are often beautiful and amazing people. So in a society with distractions and a skewed view of connection, because of modern technology and social media, actual human connection and conversation is relevant to me.
I have always found myself surrounded by wonderful neighbors at the market. Often times, produce vendors may have too much of something or they don’t want to take it home, so they’ll give it away. Over the years I’ve had lots of vegetables just given to me at the end of a market. For which I am extremely grateful. Continue reading “Collard Green Chips”