Glad to be part of the Farmers’ Market
This summer, I’ve had the opportunity to be a vendor at one of our local farmers’ markets. I’ve always enjoyed being a customer at this particular market, so wasn’t sure I’d enjoy being on the other side of the booth. I worried about things like whether I’d be able to get up at 4am, setting up my 10’x10’ tent by myself, and the most worrying of all: what if I just plain didn’t like it? Luckily, I loved it from the start, and my “neighbors” are some of the nicest people I could hope to spend 5 hours with each week. I learned quickly that we all help each other set up those unwieldy tents and we look out for each other’s stands in order to do a little shopping of our own before it gets busy. I also learned that, for many of the vendors, attending farmers’ markets is a labor of love. Dina, who sells some of the most beautiful garlic I’ve ever seen along with other summer produce, began coming to this market in order to help her father man their booth. Now that he is in ill-health, she wakes up unbelievably early to harvest the day’s goods and gives long-time customers an update on her Dad’s health. The enthusiasm with which she talks about a head of garlic is infectious and her respect for it is obvious. Marion, to the left of me, is 90 years old (!) and has been a farmers’ market vendor for at least 20 years. She and her late husband sold her handmade kitchen towels and flowers and plants from their yard; every Saturday, she continues to load up her car with freshly picked flowers and decorative items. The time she spends at the market each week is also for socializing with old friends, enjoying the community she’s been a part of for so long. Most of the vendors who make up this market are from small, multi-generational farms, lending an even greater sense of community. The idea of buying local becomes very important and real when I see how much time and care goes into growing produce for sale to the public, not to mention trying to make a living doing it.
Bringing Sweet & Woodsy products to the market has been a fun and eye-opening experience for me…getting to know customers personally and educating them about aromatherapy is quite satisfying. The personal interaction the market forges between vendor and customer is the perfect venue for a small, local enterprise such as Sweet & Woodsy. Shopping at farmers’ markets supports local businesses, farms, and families, helping strengthen the community, especially in these tough economic times. Shopping at farmers’ markets provides access to fresh, regionally-grown produce, important for both our physical health and our community’s health. I have really enjoyed not only getting Sweet & Woodsy’s name out to the public, but getting to know my fellow vendors, customers, and becoming a part of the fabric of the farmers’ market experience. I encourage you to seek out your local public market and produce stands to support not just your family’s well-being, but the well-being of other families and of your community.