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Monday, December 17, 2007

Snowy Market

That's me at market in front of our stand
(Photo Courtesy of Deb's Key West Wine & Garden)

What a winter market we had on Saturday. It was snowing hard through the entire market making displaying our wares a bit tricky. We opted for keeping as much as possible in coolers out of the snow. we had a list of what we had for people to read and choose from. I was rather amazed at how many people showed up to buy. The Oxford Uptown market has quite a few intrepid customers who will come out in any weather.

The day started for us in the store packing everything into coolers and boxes lined with toweling. We did not want to risk bringing home frozen produce that would than have to be tossed on the compost pile. This happened to us last year-we went to a sub freezing market laid our wares out on our tables like it was warm out and lost all our remaining potatoes and winter squash to the cold. And the thing of it was we did not know the stuff had frozen for 36 hours as that is how long it took for the damage to show. So we thought we were alright when we unloaded the van. After figuring out we had lost about 3/4 of our winter's stock of food we vowed never again will we go to a winter market and allow our food to freeze. So now we take measures to keep things warmish.

Got things packed they way we wanted and loaded the van and got on the dry roads at 7:30 am so we could get down to the Streits for our milk before the market and the snow. Got to the Streits and got our milk and as we were loading that into the van I noticed a snow flake lazily drifting through the air. A second later i noticed a million of its' brethren and the snow storm was on. By the time we got out to St Rt 73 (3 minutes) the roads were beginning to become covered and all the black Angus cows we passed were white on top. We drove towards Oxford wondering if we should just continue north on 127 and go home as the snow was coming down hard and fast. But when we came to the fork in the road where 127 peels off of St Rt 73 we went left and on to Oxford and the Winter Market.

Drove up and down the hills and curves of St RT 73 (one of the most dangerous roads in Ohio) talking of other snow storms and all the times I had to deal with 73 in bad conditions (my family used to live in a subdivision that was on the highway). We were able to traverse the road with no problems though I believe if we had tried to drive it a half hour later we would have had problems what with our vehicle being a Dodge Cargo van with rear wheel drive and not the newest tires in the world. Granted, we did have a lot of weight in the back due to the produce.

So got to the top of 73 where it meets Patterson Ave in Oxford and turned right so we could get to High street and got up the high Street hill swimmingly and pulled into the snow covered parking lot where we hold the market. Eugene cursed himself for not bringing a snow shovel. But soon enough, several snow shovels showed up and people were clearing the snow away (or trying to, it was snowing hard so all progress was soon covered). The shovel crew was a mix of farmers, kids, customers and market volunteers and between them all they kept the footing in good shape for everyone.

Getting the way cleared for shoppers
(Photo Courtesy of Deb's Key West Wine & Garden)

Snow on the shelters over each stall was an issue unless you had an older and more expensive model EZUp. I noticed our EZUp and one other that is the same year and kind had no problems shedding snow but all the cheapo EZUps people buy at Sam's Club and Wal-Mart were having some snow issues and had to be continually cleared. The EZ Up knock offs were even worse. The good news is as far as I know no one lost their shelters due to the snow loads. And we needed the shelters, otherwise all our food would have been covered under 3 to 4 inches of snow (maybe more). As it was, there was a good wind so quite a bit of snow did drift onto everyone's items unless they were tarped. Scott Downing's apples were covered in a nice blanket of snow (which could not have been good for the apples. I suppose they will make then into cider if they did get frost damage) and his honey jars were getting drifted in. At our stand the cash drawer started to fill up with snow and I had to abandon our tally sheet when it got too wet to be written upon (the pen would go right through the paper). But other than the tally sheet and some wet bills we had things well covered so nothing was harmed.

I thought I was going to be cold at market. I had good boots and a hat but had forgotten gloves. Not an issue as it turned out. For some reason, my hands were toasty warm through out the market. Maybe this was because the day before I spent several hours washing the leafy greens in freezing salt water to get the dirt and slugs off of the food before packing and selling it (nothing like a 3" slug crawling out of one salad...) so my hands were used to the cold. I dunno. I do know I had no need for gloves which is good as they tend to get in the way for me and make it hard to pick things up.

Chicken was a hot seller. Sold out of all that we brought (2 roasters and 5 Cornish hens). Leeks also sold well but we still have a lot of them (I believe we brought around 100 of them and sold 3/4). Butternut squash is always a good seller for us. we also sold a lot of arugula, all the red mustard, about half the spring mix (I don't know why this doesn't sell better, its' great salad. So much better than organic mixes at the grocery), almost all the spinach (which I thought would sell out), most of the salad radishes but none of the cooking radishes (probably because they were displayed badly so no one knew we had them), a lot of potatoes sold but few sweet potatoes (again because they were displayed badly).

At 11:30 we quickly packed up, drove over to UDF to get some gasoline than we slowly drove home via the back roads we always take. We had a bad problem with the wipers icing over and becoming useless. We stopped 3 times to clear them between Oxford and Eaton. And cleared them twice while in Eaton buying beer and dog food and picking up the mail. Finally got home and unloaded the van and than watched the people sliding up the 40' Pitch. That was great as it became a communal event. As a vehicle got stuck on the pitch people behind them would get out of their cars and help push the vehicles up the hill. It was good to get home before the roads got really bad.

The rest of the day I napped-Once I got home and unloaded I found that I was pretty exhausted


valereee said...

Wow, it's probably for the best that we didn't try to make it! We were doing okay on the highway, but when we thought about getting on 27 with its big ditches, curves, and hills, we decided the wisest choice was to try for the January market!


winedeb said...

Hey Lucy! Nice post. I am going to do one on the market later on today. It was great seeing everyone!