To our customers, you’re the B E S T!!!
I am very grateful to Central Farm Markets to write this blog as an interface between the markets, our customers and extended community. The online platform has offered space to bridge the gap between eaters and producers. As I’ve worked my way through subjects relevant to both audiences, this week’s post is a HUGE thank you from the Sunday markets vendors, volunteers and employees to all the people who braved torrential rains to shop.
Yeah, we know we had a washout with the rain killing hopes for a lucrative day during the spring flush of strawberries, the first cherries, asparagus and many other crops that farmers have been working relentlessly to bring to market. Here’s the rub – we can’t hold over most fresh products from week-to-week. The good news – much of the unsold produce goes to Manna Food Center.
The reality is going to market is a gamble and sometimes Mother Nature gets the best of us. It’s tough to do business and keep your tents from cartwheeling into a twisted mess for the recycle bin. Each vendor must make a call based upon their own experience. In severe weather, some vendors may not be able to physically make the trip due to localized flooding, blocked roads or the need for all-hands-on-deck to deal with weather-related emergencies. Similarly, choosing to close a market is not a decision made lightly, one often involving a combination of weather-watching and vendor feedback.
Although the markets made it through Sunday, some vendors chose not to come, and the Diabetes Awareness Day at Mosaic had to be cancelled…but has been rescheduled to Sunday, September 16 at Mosaic! Others made the best of a bad situation with a healthy dose of humor.
Even though we were all soaked to the bone, our stands awash in rain, some products damaged beyond donation, there was a sense of accomplishment, of gratitude because of our customers chose to show up in some of the most miserable weather in the history of markets.
Many customers lamented our fate to spend six hours (or more) working in the unrelenting rains. Here’s a secret: market day means standing under a tent on black top and interfacing with people who appreciate our hard work as opposed to….well, farming in all sorts of weather and conditions. See all that gorgeous produce? It’s harvested when there’s oppressive humidity and pouring rain as well as when there’s not a cloud in the sky on a balmy day every single week. It’s what we’ve chosen to do with our lives. It’s what we’re passionate about. Last Sunday our customers rewarded us with gratitude instead of grumbling and we love you for coming out along with us in the rain.
Despite the frustration and helplessness of inclement weather there was a definite air of relief as patrons dashed in and out, many with colorful rain gear (especially the kids!), graphic umbrellas and waterproof boots. Oblivious to the rain, internationally renown chef and humanitarian Jose Andres strolled through market shopping with his family, thanking vendors and customers for being there.
Die-hard customers are a sign that a market has become an integral part of the existing community. While the markets coped with high winds and downpour last Sunday, customers were also doing their best to support their market by showing up and we thank you!