Archive for Farmer’s Market

Shades of Green… and red, orange, purple, yellow and various other colors

So we are more than halfway through the summer now and we are teetering on the verge of having more produce then we will ever be able to get rid of. Our tomatoes are slowly coming in and providing us with a steady trickle. Our peppers on the other hand are coming more as a steady flood. Eggplant is popping in and we have onions coming out our ears. In an attempt to move some of our produce, we went to the Caldwell Farmer’s Market last evening. We did sell some, but barely enough to cover the booth fee.

The garden still looks wonderful though and the colors of the plants make it even more fun to work in. But if anyone has any ideas on how to get rid of some of the produce, we would love to hear them.

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Get It Local: Think Boise First

Get It Local

Capital City Public Market
On Saturday July 11 Kalee, my boyfriend Ben Rodwell, Beth, and myself joined about 30 other volunteers in downtown Boise at the Capital City Farmer’s Market to assist with a Rapid Market Assessment. The RMA provides economic information about shoppers at the market and counts the total number of market attendees. Our duty was to ask market shoppers to participate in a dot survey; 4 questions with multiple choice answers were on 4 different boards. We handed them 4 dot stickers and they placed a dot in the column corresponding to their answers. The questions asked how often they shop at the market, what they buy (produce, crafts, art) how much they spend, and how much they spend at other downtown businesses. Other volunteers stood at all the entrances to the market and counted the people walking in with clickers. The last RMA was held 3 years ago and the total attendance count was at about 11,000. This year the total count was over 17,000 market shoppers! It is great to see the trend of more people buying fresh local produce and supporting their local farmers.

After the RMA we had the opportunity to visit with a local Boise business owner running a restaurant with a strong commitment to sustainability. Red Feather Lounge & Bittercreek Alehouse At Red Feather & Bittercreek they cook incredible food that comes from as many local growers as possible. They include food miles on their menu, showing how far each item traveled to get there. They have a huge worm compost bin in the basement and compost their organic food waste. They use recycled wine bottles as dinner glasses, and use their own ketchup bottles. It’s wonderful and inspiring to see how it’s the little changes that make the big differences. If you’re looking for a delicious restaurant and want to know they are committed to sustainability, check out this great restaurant in downtown Boise.

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Caldwell Farmer’s Market (Our first two weeks)

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I am pleased to report that we have two successful visits to the farmer’s market under our belts! The picture above was taken by a helpful fellow vendor at our first farmer’s market. After some, challenges, with the canopy (Caldwell Farmer’s Market has very strict regulations regarding appearance. Canopies must be white or green, no blue, and unfortunately just a few days before the college had sold all of it’s green canopies at the yard sale and kept only the blue) (luckily after calling several rental companies and sporting goods stores we were able to borrow a green cover from the market administration) we were off.

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We were unprepared for exactly how much lettuce was in our three rows of lettuce mix. Once washed it filled well over thirty bags- seven or so are pictured above, the other 23+ spent market day in the cooler. We sold most of our produce that first day, and made a decent amount of profit, considering it was our first day. (Initial estimates were about twenty dollars or so after subtracting the cost of materials and the market fee. Later, when Amanda counted up the cashbox, she told us we made much more.)

Customers and sometimes other vendors approached us and told us some wonderful stories about their breakfasts, gardens, kitchens, families, whatever. (One gentleman told us in great detail about his morning smoothie, which contained among other things, highly nutritious but sometimes-difficult-to-love kale). A few people were curious to know what to do with or how to cook some of our produce- questions that despite working for a food service and a catering company I wasn’t fully prepared to answer. I did my research later on sorrel, a tangy leafy herb reminiscent of rhubarb, and found that is most associated with sorrel soup. (Which was delicious, by the way. Some of the leftovers from market found their way into my roommate’s newly purchased stew pot)

By the next Wednesday we were Farmer’s Market Experts and harvested, bundled, and priced much less produce with considerably less stress and set up in no time. This time we nearly sold out of everything (!) pushing our total market profits to over 100$, doubling our budget. (Which was no longer as desperately necessary thanks to the donation of a hoe by our beloved benefactor Beth and ten tomato cages by another friend and organic grower, Bart.)

Below are pictures of our second, streamlined booth, featuring our walla-walla sweet onions.

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The past two weeks we have been absent from the market, choosing to focus on and send our produce to the Idaho Green Expo, but we’re looking forward to a comeback next Wednesday.

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Boise Farmer’s Market

The kale was getting HUGE to the point of being completely out of control, (and possibly soon inedible. What do you do with giant kale?) and we had two or three rows of other greens ready to go to market. With Sara and Matt out of town we couldn’t get our Caldwell Farmer’s Market booth up and running, but Robin of Lazy Dog Farms graciously agreed to take some of our greens with her to the Boise Market tomorrow morning (Saturday). We sent her five or six boxes of kale, chard, and heritage lettuce mix.

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Chard and kale ready to go to the Boise Farmer’s market in the back of Rebecca’s car. Of course a leaf of kale with two big holes would be on top. Oh well, it’s an organic garden.

Thanks Robin for washing, bundling, and selling our greens for us! Organic gardeners/farmers are possibly the coolest people on earth.

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