First winter harvest

First winter harvest: salad greens

Yesterday’s harvest that went to today’s farmers’ market, my earliest market start by almost two months! From the unheated greenhouse: kale, green and red mustard, and lettuce mix times two. Harvest conditions: -2°C outside, a perfect-working-weather 10°C inside. At the end, the sun came out and it started to get sweatingly hot under a T-shirt, shirt and fleece. But, already done! No rinsing, just covered and into a cool room for a 6 a.m. pick-up this morning. It felt a little odd, starting the year’s Saturday markets so early, and indoors—this fall, if all goes as intended, weekly market will cease to end for winter and become instead a fully year-round thing…

Farmers’ market tool

Last One sign: farmers' market stand

Blogged about before, still in service (no dirt streaks or coffee spills so far), it’s the original, the very first Last One sign (I’m pretty sure it is), brilliant sales tool (nearly 100% successful!), now part of the Almost Gone collection, Last 1-2-3-4-5 and Not Many Left. This one is on some near-perfect unheated greenhouse spinach. Fun with signage at the winter farmers’ market.

Winter market: third week!

Winter farmers' market: third week!

Third week of our first winter farmers’ market and it’s going great. So far, the weather hasn’t been bad, so it doesn’t seem entirely radical to have freshly harvested greens and carrots this late in the season, but it’s still quite a novelty at our market. One other small farm is doing the same season extension stuff for the first time this year, which is cool, it makes the idea of fresh, local food well past the usual outdoor season seem…doable. Which it obviously is. After the last few years of ending the market, outdoors, on the last Saturday of October, being up and running this late in the year feels excellent, and going till Christmas will be fun. Only downside of being indoors here is the rather ghastly lighting, but like most things, you get used to it, and warm is good. On the stand today (and almost sold out by mid-morning): carrots (Nelson), spinach (Bloomsdale), mizuna, mustard, arugula, everything harvested yesterday.

Tiny Farm vs Elton John

Elton John tour overlaps farmers' market

Tiny Farm vs Elton John: Senior rock star has decided to take his tour to smaller towns. It’s 7 a.m. in the on and off pouring rain, and we’re set up a few feet from a half dozen semis and a few tour buses that make up the Sir Elton tour caravan, loading into the local arena. Several of the buses are idling indefinitely, sending a low rumble under the rain. Around half of the farmers’ market area of the parking lot got appropriated for tour parking, forcing us to shove together in the remaining space. Lotsa grumbling…but that’s rock’n’roll, right?! (Update: That night, voice lost, he canceled. Oh well.)

After market

Packed up farmers' market stand

Around 1:25 p.m. and it’s just about time to head out from the farmers’ market, which officially ends at 1. This season, we’ve been storing the entire farm stand in the communal cage where vendors can leave stuff from Saturday to Saturday. The stand is quite the compact set-up, once it’s torn down and stowed away…efficiently. On the dolly, there’s the 10’x10′ E-Z UP canopy, half a dozen folding metal sawhorses and the plywood boards that turn them into tables, a pair of chalkboards, rough cut cedar display trays (a strip of four, and singles), pieces of 2×4 used to prop up the trays, and a plastic water jug used as a canopy weight (we normally have four, but this year we’ve been lashing the canopy legs to one of our neighbors, so weighting the four corners isn’t necessary). The only thing missing, besides the veg, of course, is our market box, which is a bin containing scales, bags, signage and so forth. Most farms come to market stand and all, as we did until last season’s start of…commuter farming—living off-farm—when logistics made leaving this gear at market a lot simpler. Anyhow, this huge exhibition hall houses the indoor market on Saturdays, November through April, and the big parking lot outside is where the summer outdoor market is located. The cage, a chain link fenced corner, is out of sight to the right. And that’s just about ALL the details. :)

Friday harvest to Saturday market

Farmers' market August 2011

Friday’s harvest to Saturday’s market is the way it is! We still go direct from field to stand, with no cooler in between, and that seems to work out. And the stand itself hasn’t changed much in the last few seasons: raw cedar bins on boards on sawhorses, baskets up front, under the 10’x10′ E-Z UP canopy. What’s new is our latest in DIY veggie sign technology: the usual cards printed in marker with description and price, but now mounted with tape on long, thin coffee stir sticks, stuck right in with the produce. Anyhow, good weather, a decent turnout, a fine morning all round!