Wildwood Farmers Market, Saturday, April 29th,
What a weekend to start the market report and market blog!
Some of you may know that I am in my second year of being the President of the Missouri Farmers Market Association. I keep track of a lot of markets in our State. I know that we start our Wildwood Farmers Market season later than many of the other markets. And today, with all of the rain, I know why we choose to do that.
I know many folks in the community get quite anxious for the season to begin. I think about everyone with home gardens and community garden spaces and how hard it is to wait until just the right time to start putting seeds and plants into the soil. I was a home gardener for years and remember looking at all of the seed catalogs in the winter, making my lists, starting the seeds and waiting, waiting, waiting. When should I start planting? I am still a believer in the Farmers Almanac and in listening to the “old timer” gardeners with wise tales and wisdom about planting and gardening in general.
Every season I wait and wait and patiently wait to hear from our farmer, gardener market producers. I wait and see what they are thinking, what they have to say and what their predictions of harvesting produce might be. Finally we decide when to open the new market season. This year is probably the earliest opening we have planned since being managers of this market.
I started this blog post and market report a few weeks ago and decided to wait until I heard from a few more vendors, had a better idea of the new location and layout, a few more musicians on the schedule and some ideas for the Little Sprouts market tent. It’s all been coming together quite nicely.
And then ALL this rain…..I have to say my heart and thoughts are with the farmers and producers this weekend.
The farmer producers have to know the right time to sow starter seeds, sow seeds in the soil, when to plant the plants and then when to pick and pack to come to market. The producers that raise animals have to care for the animals day in and day out, pasturing, feeding, protecting from the predators and the elements, making sure they have clean water and shelter. It’s a lot of non stop work to get our food to us.
And after all that hard work, it’s always hard to predict what the weather will be like on market day? Too hot, too cold, too windy, rainy? Or just right, perfect temps and breeze!! Putting tents up, keeping the tents up, keeping the products looking great, fresh and sometimes as dry as possible; BUT most of all, hoping that customers come to shop and make purchases are all of the challenges the market vendor faces during market season.
As a market manager for several years, I have done my best to support the market vendors during all possible weather including potentially challenging weather. We all need to be safe. But the vendors continue to need a reliable source of income and commerce available to them on a regular basis. I have to say that I have become much more aware of the nuances in weather and how it affects what food I have available to me from week to week and season to season. Before I became a market manager I would hear things on the news about a drought or a flood or a freeze that could affect the supermarket or commodity prices or availability for certain produce. But on a local, seasonal, personal level, forming relationships and depending on market vendors for my food each week has given me a new awareness to the highs and lows and unpredictability of what I might eat each week. Or for that season.
Now, I will stop lamenting about the weather!
For the community, I want to continue to create a fun, upbeat gathering space and place of commerce, that you the customer looks forward to attending each Saturday. I strive to bring together a nice variety of vendors to give you a quality group of farmers market producers and artisans. Because it is called a “farmers market” we like to ensure that we have a greater ratio of local, seasonal, just picked produce, plants, herbs, flowers, eggs, honey, meats and farm products supplemented with locally branded food items and locally handcrafted artisan wares.
The Little Sprouts kids market tent is a favorite of mine. I started in the farmers market world with role as a volunteer with a kids market tent in 2009. Wow, hard to believe that I am beginning my 9th season as a local farmers market manager. Many of these last 8 years has been spent managing two markets; this season is no exception. Creating relationships with local farmers, producers, artisans, entreprenuers, musicians, families, various City staff and local businesses has been a great pleasure.
I am looking forward to another great season.
See you at the market!
See you at the market.