Yesterday, I dragged both kids out into the 95-degree heat for our first farmer’s market. We’ll be at the market every Thursday, 2-7pm, in Jamaica Plain, on the lawn of the Loring-Greenough House. It’s a lovely spot, with families with kids running around under the trees and food trucks (Bon Me and BBQ Smith) giving folks a chance to grab some dinner.
The first test was seeing whether everything fit in the car, with enough room for all three of us. Luckily it did, but it’ll be a lot harder when we have more veggies later in the season.
All the produce fit into two large coolers that we filled with frozen bottles of water and juice to try to keep them (and us) cool a little bit longer. Once at the site, the three of us got everything set up in short order. I brought every basket and apple box we had, unclear of exactly how I’d set it all up.
In addition to vegetables, we also have a tiny little lending library. It only has ten books, but they’re all good conversation starters. Yesterday, it was so hot, people weren’t that excited about standing around in the heat chatting about the books, but a few people noticed, including a librarian from outside of Boston.
Andrea and Hallie, from the neighboring tent from Stillman’s Farm, were quite patient with all my million questions (where’s the bathroom, how much are you charging for lettuce, etc.). Stillman’s is much a larger operation than ours, with multiple stands at farmer’s markets almost every day of the week. There’s a lot we can learn from them.
Our other neighbor is Jim Buckle from Buckle Farm, a long-time organic farmer who used to run Allandale Farm in Brookline, and now owns his own organic farm in Dighton. Some of his CSA members pick up at the Thursday market, which brought in a stead stream of folks for their shares.
It was a slow day, because it was just too hot for most people to think about buying food and taking home and cooking it. But it didn’t take long before we had our first customer:
Customers trickled in throughout the afternoon, though most were drawn to delicious strawberries over at the Stillman’s tent. The lavender sprigs and snow peas were our most popular offerings, though we managed to sell a little bit of everything. With the heat and bored/hot kids, we probably spent about as much on cold drinks and food truck lunch as we made, but it actually went quite smoothly for a first day. We didn’t forget anything and the greens stayed as fresh as you might expect over the course of the day.
Later in the afternoon, sun started creeping onto the tables, threatening to melt our chard. This gave me a chance to try out one of the tent sidewalls (which I almost didn’t bother to bring, since I figured they were just for rain). It helped a lot in keeping the sun off and keeping everything just a bit cooler.
A few friends and neighbors stopped by, including Bonnie Duncan (who was about to head over to perform in the T Plays, where I’m one of the writers) and our backyard neighbors, Ryan, Simone, Cedar, and Hudson who bought up the last of the snow peas.
We had a great day visiting with customers and continuing to learn more and more about this whole farming business. We’ll be back again next week, with more greens and lettuce (and cooler weather). I can’t wait.