It’s an early morning, tint of cold to the air, the dawn waving madly, its rays of sunshine warming all. Greetings and hugs are given as everyone re-enters from the long winter’s nap. A bit of a family reunion, catch up, then get to work. The tent goes up first. Tents popping against the blue sky in succession. Water bottles secure the legs so a swift wind doesn’t turn the unexpecting tent into a wind sock! Folding tables emerge, banner is put up. Table cloth of pattern and theme carefully placed and our wares displayed in a lovely assortment in order to catch the eye. Pour a cup of coffee and wait for customers. One must find the right tone so not to scare the customer. “GOOD MORNING!” many yell. Or like me, I often find myself lost in a book and Doug coming back to the booth only to find that ten people have walked by and I have said nothing.
(one of our first farmer’s markets)
No, the farmer’s markets have not started yet. We still have three months but if you are a farmer’s market vendor, or want to be, February is when you begin to plan and sign up for markets…and begin to get antsy. Now I tell everyone every year that I am no longer doing farmer’s markets. Wind and hundreds of small glass bottles of medicine don’t mix and tend to give me nightmares into December. Losing my voice after explaining for half hour increments that these are medicines, no the FDA did not approve them (thank God), and no it is not the alcohol that makes them work, they are not essential oils, and yes, they do work. Only to have them keep walking or worse, tell the same jokes we have heard hundreds of times during our time at the market. My sense of humor lost and the wind picking up, I cower away to the nearest bathroom and let Doug be the socialite.
Last year we prayed for a sign. As Doug says, “We ask God for a sign and we get hit by a sack of nickles!” That is because we are a little dense and need a big sign in order to see the way. So, on our way home when the back of the truck opened and all of our things landed on the highway, we knew. I rejoiced, no more farmer’s markets!
I smugly told all my friends at Miller Farms during a birthday party a few weeks ago that I was never doing markets again. Some feigned shock, as I do this every year, some were genuinely concerned…”really?” they asked. I said “yes”, rather matter-of-factly. I am purchasing a large basket and sunglasses and I am becoming a customer.
But then Nancy and I made soap and in our giddiness had beer. And in that eye opening lunch we came up with the most brilliant ideas. Doug, ever the buzz kill, would say things like, “someone already sells that,” or “how are you going to do that?” No details please! I simply want to dream. But our dream didn’t die after lunch, it grew. Many of the farmer’s markets have become flea markets. There are booths of chatchkees from China, big smiles on multi-marketing booths (a different multi-marketing product from the one they sold last year), and stale bread. What has become of our beloved markets? I drool over French markets. I am a market girl. It is what it is. So, I emailed Dave at Miller Farms. We want to be in the market! I am sure he threw his hand to his heart immediately at the shock. Sacre bleu! And we’re in.
Two Farmgirls make their debut this summer at a market in Colorado Springs and the one in Elizabeth. We are leaving Doug at the store unless he wants to be our chauffeur and fetch us coffee. (haha, Cabana Boy for markets. Ok, he won’t appreciate this…I better stop!) Picture this: like I have always done, we will only sell what we make. A few selected popular tinctures will make it to the table. My most popular body products, mostly my rich, fabulous lotion. Our new soaps in five flavors. Fresh, crisp greens from our respective gardens, other produce to follow if there is plenty. Home canned goods (thank you Cottage Law!), a few loaves of hot, delicious bread, a few of Nancy’s luscious pies, eggs from the girls, goat’s milk, organic teas, Steve’s fresh roasted coffee, candles that I am pouring this week. And of course….farmgirl aprons.