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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Saturday Sales in Winter

Yesterday we had a great market day. I had sent out an email announcing we have a lot of food to sell and three people took advantage of the opportunity. Sold almost $200 worth of produce and chicken. Cleared out a lot of space in the fridge in the store.

One of the people getting food is an old friend I had not seen for several years named Frank. I know him from working at Di Paolo's. Not that we ever worked there at the same time, he came after I left. Now he's the chef for the president of Miami University. Look's like many of us Di Paolo alums are doing well for ourselves. Frank tells me that Pres. Hodge is taking Miami in a green direction. Especially where food is concerned. this explains why suddenly Miami's food service is sourcing as much local food as they can find. Unfortunately their protocol does not allow the various chefs and cooks to buy directly from us farmers at the farmers market or directly in other ways without special exemptions. Oh well, they are just getting into this and I am sure protocols will change to fit the situation.

Another person (people, actually) came over from Fairborn to get food. They loaded up on a scad of produce and a few chickens. the other sale was to the Streits, the folks who supply us with raw milk.

It was nice to sell some stuff and make a bit of money during the off season. Hopefully we can get more business in the future during the winter but it will take some education on our part and flexibility on the part of the locavores.

You see, winter growing is tricky. Most crops do not want to grow in the cold dark season but we have our ways of getting them to respond, usually. But if there is too much cloud cover or it is frigid for too many days things will not grow at all and that means nothing to harvest. Granted we do have things store in the root cellar (i.e. the barn and store). The tricky items are the leafy greens like arugula, kale, lettuce, etc.. But if they decide to do nothing between mid December and early February we still have squash, taters, onions, garlic, dried herbs, parsnips, leeks, etc.. ready to sell and eat.


valereee said...

Hi, Lucy! I couldn't tell whether you were unhappy with the turnout of 3 people and $200 in sales. It seemed like maybe you were being sarcastic, but I wasn't sure?


Lucy said...


I am quite happy with the sales on Sat. Granted, at the Sat farmers market in Oxford we will make far more money and serve far more people but this is off season and frankly, we have been having a hard time getting anyone out to the store in the off season

I guess, despite the rhetoric, many locavores, especially newbie locavores, do not want to have much to do with the farms they buy from. At least that has been my experience in the 15 years I have been doing this. People seem want convenience over authenticity.

valereee said...

Lucy, I think there's a continuum. At one end of the continuum, each consumer drives from farm to farm picking up lettuce here, eggs there, beef at the next one. You get what you want (local food) but it requires a lot of time to get it. Very few people are probably both able and willing to do this.

At the other end is the supermarket -- you drive 2 miles and spend a half hour but nothing you buy is any good. Most of America is willing to make this tradeoff. I doubt that will change.

The farmers' market is in the middle -- you drive a little further then you would to get to the grocery, you spend more time than you would at the grocery, but you get much of what you want. Quite a few people are willing to do this. But farmers' markets are demanding for the farmers. The time they use packing up, driving, and selling could better be used on the farm.

Co-ops are the solution, I think. They're almost as convenient for the consumer as a conventional grocery, and they take much of the distribution burden off the farmer.

I think most people do want convenience if they can have it. But from what I'm seeing, a lot of folks are willing to give up at least =some= convenience in order to get what they want. I drive 50 miles round-trip every week for my milk. Would I prefer to be able to walk to buy it? Absolutely. But it's not available to me that way, so off I drive. I'll keep trying to find someone to share the trip with, partially for my convenience but also because it's wasteful to spend two gallons of gas picking up three gallons of milk!

I saw that you posted to the group announcing what you'd harvested, but didn't see one saying there were store hours Saturday. I couldn't have made it this week, but another week I might be able to! It's a long drive for me, but I'd love to see your farm.

Lucy said...


I understand all that. I have been in this for over 15 years as both a customer and a grower/marketer/developer of local foods infrastructure. OIver the years i found about 10% are willing to go the extra mile and about 20% do not understand what they are getting into and are not willing to make any effort and complain, a lot. These are the people who do things because they are popular. Right now local foods the locavore movement is popular. lots of people wanting to join a CSA even though they don't understand what they are getting into (have to know how to cook whole foods, will get things that are unfamiliar, must pick up a box/bag of food weekly). In my exp these folks are the ones you hope drop out of the movement.

The rest are somewhere in the middle.

I am waiting with baited breath for the MOON Co-op in Oxford to open. It will be a help. I have sold through a co-op (Clear Creek in Richmond, IN) in the past and it has never been a big part of my income but it all helps. Plus I was going to that co-op weekly for my own purchases and bulk ordering so it was convenient for me to do some retailing consignment there.

Our farm store is open by appointment only and that was printed at the end of the email to locavores. Just email me with what you want at least 24 hours before you want it and we will have it all ready.

valereee said...

Yeah, I knew the store was open by appointment only during the winter, but I thought the post meant that there'd been set store hours Saturday. Maybe I could swing by some day after I've picked up my milk, since you're in that direction too. The only problem is that recently I've been getting skim, so I pick up on whatever day Janet separates rather than a set day. How much notice do you need?

Yeah, there was that guy on the locavore group complaining about his CSA. He was really bent out of shape, and I was thinking "I bet all the CSAs on here are hoping you don't try to switch to =them= this year!" :D I got the strong feeling he hadn't really understood how a CSA works & that if the farm has a disappointing year, your portion is going to be disappointing, too.