My Visit to the Farmers' Market

Monday, June 17, 2013

A nice short visit to the farmers' market would do anyone good--loading up on baked goods, rhubarb, and hopefully a few geraniums and tomato plants.  And I was really hoping the casual passerby would load up with geraniums and tomatoes, for my visit to the farmers' market was anything but short.

Thursday I had received a message from a friend who owns a nursery/greenhouse.  It's getting late in the season, so she was wondering if I knew anyone who would be interested in taking some of her flowers to a farmers' market and splitting the proceeds 50/50.  It sounded interesting to me, so we picked flowers up at the nursery, grabbed some rhubarb from our garden, and headed to the Eldora Farmers' Market which opens at 4:30 p.m.  

I was less than delighted to see a large selection of flowers already at the farmers' market, but my flowers were prettier (in my opinion) and our prices were very low; so I paid the $15 (per season) vendor fee and set up, selling a geranium or two in the process.

Geraniums sold for $2 per pot, Roma tomatoes for $0.50 a plant, and 4-packs of Huskie Red tomatoes, red salvia, (purple) evolution salvia, various colors of petunias, and dusty miller for $1.00 each.  

To our right were a couple ladies selling homemade bread.  We bought a loaf of their cinnamon oatmeal raisin variety--it was scrumptious!  The next vendor was a lady selling brownies and more bread.  My papa purchased a plate of brownies for us to snack on while we waited for customers.  Needless to say, it didn't last for long.
To our left was a lady selling Middle Eastern cooking.  I tried some of her flatbread, and that too was delicious!  If you're looking for good home-cooked food, look no further than an Iowa farmers' market!

We had a few customers who each bought 1 or 2 plants each.  Papa and I decided to set up our chess board and play a few games to pass the time more quickly.  Right in the middle of a captivating game, a lady came over and started choosing flower after flower.  She was our star customer of the day, purchasing about $30.00 of plants, so we stopped the clock and helped her load them into her pickup truck.  

When the farmers' market ended for the day, after paying the greenhouse owner's half and tax, I was just a few dollars in the positive.  We still had plenty of plants, so we decided to try the Iowa Falls farmers' market Saturday morning.

*Beep-beep-beep* is not the most pleasant sound to hear on Saturday mornings, but I heeded the message of my alarm clock, and we were soon on our way to the Iowa Falls farmers' market which opens at 8:30 a.m.  
After a rainy night, it was a pleasure to see the sun shining.  The only other vendors were the lady we had bought brownies from in Eldora and the man who sold flowers in Eldora.  This morning the lady had a nice selection of breads as well as brownies and zucchini bars.  We chose another plate of brownies and a loaf of banana nut bread, which was scrumptious.  

My sister and I brought a couple books to read to make the time go by faster.  We were able to sell some flowers and tomatoes, and by the end of the day I had just about broke even (after the entry fee, which will cover the rest of the season)

Thank you to my friend at the greenhouse!  It was a good experience, and I had fun.

 I learned that if you want to make money as a vendor at a farmers' market, it will take persistence, patience, and a good book to read. It's not likely you'll make a great profit the first time you visit a farmers' market, but if you come back for a second and third time, you should gradually make a small profit.

I'm not sure if I have the persistence required for success in this field, but should we have extra garden produce this summer (as we usually do), we now have a place to sell it--the farmers' market.  I also know that if I'm in the mood for delicious baked goods (without making them myself) the farmers' market is the place to shop!