Sunday, September 4, 2011

Selling at the Friday Night Farmers Market!

We've had a pal visiting from Vancouver; George wanted to come for a little visit and have a day-in-the-life experience of the little farm in Manitoba.  It's the weekend, so that means the Friday Night Farmers Market and Saturday morning at the Farmers Market at Riverbank Discovery Centre!  It was a great opportunity to get some 'action' photos.  We find that setting up for a market is always a scramble and a bit stressful - there is just never enough time no matter how organized you think you are!  We put George to work in a small way, he helped clean and bundle carrots and beets.  His big job, though, was getting photos of the process at the Farmers Market!

The canopy is interesting on
a windy day!
What goes where?
By the time we arrive at the Friday Night Farmers Markets we've already been at it for six to eight hours!  Farmer Man is usually out the door by around 6:00 AM; first he opens up the chicken coops and turns the goatlings out into their pasture, as well as checking everybody's food and water.  Then he has a quiet tour around, checking on what's ready to harvest.  By 8:00 AM when our little staff arrives, he has a plan and dispatches everyone on their tasks.  This Friday Henry and Blake were off to dig a specific list of seven different kinds of potatoes, Cheryl and Nataliya were off to pick beans.  The harvesting goes on all morning, with the garage being the depot.  As veggies come up to the garage, they are set up for washing, cleaning and drying.  By noon, Cheryl has started to package: weighing and bagging potatoes was first on her list.  Nataliya and I kept harvesting: tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, flowers.  Blake and Henry helped Farmer Man cut summer and winter squash, dig carrots and beets.  By 1:00 PM, Carissa has arrived.  Carissa comes to help sell at the Farmers Market, and immediately jumps into the bagging.
The final touch - prices!
And we're off! 
As always, as the time approaches to leave for the Market, there's a flurry of activity!  Farmer Man is loading the truck with crates of vegetables, I'm picking out baskets for displays and making sure I have a float for change and bags, Carissa is still packaging.  We always run out of time:  this week I kind of forget to cut herbs for Friday Night - it's always something!  By 2:30 we're ready to leave.  Shortly before 3:00 we arrive at Shoppers Mall, the Zellers parking lot.  Buddy George is the official photographer today.  First, the little canopy: always a challenge on a windy day.  This is important to keep the sun of the veggies, protection in case of rain (it was a little cloudy Friday, with something like a 20% chance of a shower) and it gives us a little 'presence'!  Next folding tables get set out, table clothes go on, our sign goes in front of the table, baskets come out of the truck.  We start unloading crates from the truck; we need to get some emptied into baskets because we use empties as the base for little 'tables' of crates of squash.  Sorting, arranging, displaying, all with that deadline of a 4:00 PM start.  Next, clips for little cards with the name, price and maybe a little description on each item.  This time of year, there is really not enough room for all the goodies.  A last check: everything is out, everything is accessible, everything has a price!  The big whistle at 4:00 PM and we're having a Farmers Market!  George found it so crazy, busy and crowded that he had to get out of there!  He didn't know people were so enthusiastic about fresh, local vegetables!

Back at home, Farmer Man starts after supper with harvesting for Saturday mornings' Farmers Market.  Henry came back for a couple of hours and helped dig more potatoes and onions.  Farmer Man and I are in touch by phone, so I can let him know what's selling out.  I'm home from the market by shortly after 7:30 PM, and Farmer Man, George and I have a little visit and a bite to eat.  We're up early Saturday morning to dig more carrots and such.  That gets a little harder as we get later in the season because it gets dark earlier on Friday evenings and stays dark later on Saturday mornings!  Farmer Man has been known to harvest late in September with a head lamp on over his ball cap!  Cheryl will come at 8:00 AM on Saturday morning to help clean and package and then her and I are off to the Farmers Market at Riverbank Discovery Centre, leaving at 9:00 AM for at 10:00 AM start.  By Saturday afternoon at 2:00 PM - it's nap time!  Whew!


  1. what a vivd description of how it all comes together! but do you re-pack or cover the produce and leave the stand set up overnight for saturday morning?

  2. Saturday morning is at a totally different location so, yes, it all gets packed up! On a good day, there are not many veggies to pack up, but tables still have to come down, tent dismantled, baskets etc packed away!

  3. Ah yes, I remember it well...lots of fun when you don't have to do it all the time!


  4. It gets to be a bit of a 'grind' by the end of September. The darn canopy is the part I always dread the most.......