Well the last outdoor market was last Saturday and it was rainy and cold out so it made it much easier to get our heads around the end of our first market season. As I am sure I have mentioned before I am a lazy "farmer" and am quite honestly looking forward to having Saturdays "off" again and not having to wake up before 6am to pick vegetables. On the other hand Tommy and I have seriously enjoyed going to market more than I think we expected too. Its kind of like being on a game show trying to get the display setup in time....pick the vegetables, wash the vegetables, pack the vegetables, pack the car, remember not to forget anything, get coffee ice and change if needed, drive to market, un-pack car, setup table and umbrella, don't forget to put up our sign, un-load veggies display vegetables in a pleasing manner, put out the prices, check the clock tick tock tick tock 9am open for business.... Now our display is tiny comparative to the big guys so I cant even imagine what they must go through! Its going to free up a lot of brain space for me since I spend a lot of the time driving to my day job thinking about what we are going to have ready for market I guess I will have to start thinking about what to grow for next year now instead. But that's okay that's one of my favorite parts of this whole thing the lure of next year....
Now lets talk about how we did this year. I think both Tommy and I are pleasantly surprised how well we did. There were only a few times that our display came close to "radish guy" territory (see previous post for neurotic musings about radish guy) and that in itself is awesome. Some weeks we had a lot some weeks not so much but I think all in all our offerings were always colorful and well presented and as our market manager put in one of the newsletters "and 3 Dogs Barking Farms will have a little of everything" but I take that as a compliment to be able to have such a varied offering from only 1/4 acre plot ain't a bad thing. But one really nice thing she said was what we do have is always beautifully fresh now that's a high compliment. I really do pick either the night before or the morning of so you wont be seeing something that didn't sell last week return this week. Maybe when I successfully grow storage crops like onions that will be the exception but I even dig potatoes pretty much for each market. Maybe not the best way to do things but so far its my way.
So what about next year? What do we do the same what do we do different whats our 5 year plan? Big questions that need some thought but I think we have definitely proved to ourselves that this can be done you can get to market and do pretty well with only 1/4 acre of so under cultivation. We need (or I) need to work on succession planting more and of course as always stop procrastinating about getting things done when they need to be done. But I grew a ton of stuff for the first time this year with quite a bit of success but then on the flip side I grew stuff I have always grown and got my hat handed to me. Damn flea beetles till we meet again next year don't worry you little varmint this time I will be prepared....and that goes to you mr. vole you just try and eat ALL my beets next year. But that's another thing you have to remember last year was last year this year was this year and who the hell knows what next year will bring. You seriously have to be able to roll with the punches and adapt when trying to grow food and that goes for the person growing food for the family in a 12x12 garden, me growing food for two markets in my backyard, the 4 acre guy, and the mega huge soybean grower in the Midwest. You really just never know what next year will bring be it good or bad.
Immediate plans? The fall stuff is going strong and hope to start having more available to sell on the online market we sell on (www.farmiemarket.com/saratoga) soon. Check it out if you haven't already its a great service with great products from some awesome local farms and vendors. Also hoping to get my head around trying to grow salad mix, head lettuce, and spinach throughout the winter in our small high tunnel for farmiemarket so customers (and us too) have access to great fresh greens when its knee deep with snow outside. Fingers crossed!