Have you worked at a farmers market before or really thought what it was like to work one of the booths? Well I got a first hand experience thanks to Jackson Lowe Vegetable Farm!
Jackson Lowe Vegetable Farm is a CNG (certified naturally grown) vegetable farm who grows their vegetables using organic practices as you may recall from earlier (Drive for success…). As an expanding farm they asked me to help them out with the Marietta Square Farmers Market so I could see more of the nuts and bolts about how the local food system works. I of course was excited for this opportunity!
While working the farmers market I noticed a few things…
There are lots of newbies to the produce world. With each season there brings new foods that people are not familiar with and need some guidance using. When you are working behind the scenes and manning a booth you need to know about the different produce so you can help educate those who are wanting to try something new! If you are new to produce, don’t be afraid to ask! The people growing the produce are happy to introduce you to something new and help you find a way to eat it! For example, there was one man who came with a list of greens he knew nothing about but that he was going to try them! After a few minutes of standing in the middle of the row staring at the produce he approached me and asked for some help finding all the produce. It’s a rewarding experience helping people find new foods to try! (The differences between kale varieties is the most a common question!)
Another thing I noticed was people don’t mind a little dirt and pest damage. The bok choy was harvested Friday night before the market on Saturday and they did not have the time or daylight to rinse it off before bringing it. Therefore, the bok choy was quite muddy. The poor bok choy had had a rough week, besides sitting in mud from much needed rain, it was also a tasty snack for some pests. However, the customers didn’t seem to mind any of this. All they were concerned with was that is was grown organically and is fresh!
Lastly, people love radishes! I never would have guessed that the first thing to sell out would be radishes!
Given this opportunity to help out at the farmers market was exciting and I learned a lot about what people do and don’t know about foods. It was a great way to see Jackson Lowe Vegetable Farm connect with their usual customers too and see everyone excited about the CSA starting in two weeks!
Spring 2012 Food Warrior ATL