Saturday was a special occasion for us: the first market we’ve attended where we had our own produce stand. This might seem odd, being the last market of the season, but it’s because up until this point, Emily was working at Ginger’s farm (including manning HER stand at the Manzanita market) and we were selling our vegetables through the Community Table (a business incubator) at the Tillamook market. This weekend, however, all the other markets were closed, and we were at the LNCT Harvest Festival. We’re a bit behind the other growers since we got our crops in the ground late (long story), and that turned out to actually be a bonus this time… we were offering some things the other growers didn’t have, like sweet corn. We received a lot of positive comments on how nice our stand looked, and I feel like we made a good showing with the vegetable variety, including pumpkins, potatoes, red onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, and beets.
The big surprise for me, hover, was how popular the canned good were. We sold most of what we took, people were excited to talk to us about them, and none of the other vendors were offering those products. Pricing was the trickiest, and to try to get an accurate guess, I ended up having to make a spreadsheet beforehand to tally raw material costs, time spent, and so forth. Our profit margin right now is really slim on the value-added products (we have to keep the price within reach, even if they ARE more expensive than buying the same thing at the grocery store), but they’re still worth it since we “pay ourselves” for the vegetables that go into them. Once I streamline the making process, the numbers will get better. And people really seemed to like the sweet pickle samples we were giving out.
At the harvest festival, there was also a cider press available for public use. We collected a bushel of mixed apples from Ryan’s two trees and pressed them, getting about two gallons of incredibly tasty cider. Ryan had been considering taking the two trees down, as they are pretty old and ratty, but after a taste of the cider, he had to reconsider. The plan now is that I am going to try a few years of restorative pruning on them, to bring them back into shape. And the cider? I started fermenting a double batch of hard cider this afternoon.