I’ve finally gotten around to building a Produce Stand. I’ve been putting it off, hoping the Market would consume all of my garden goodies. It has not. So, work begins on the backup plan: A stand to be operated by Nate.
I began as most farmers do: figuring out what I can reuse. Above is the rack for drying onions, and four landscape timbers. The timbers will form the legs of the stand, and the rack will hold the produce. I’m hoping this stand will last for many years, so I’m using great care in it’s construction. I didn’t want to drag out the extension cords, and power tools, so I started out with the hand saw. I made two cuts with the saw, and quickly realized why I have electricity….. Power tools it is.
I decided the stand would be strongest if the shelf holding the produce rested on the timbers, and rather then cut the timber in half, I decided to notch it out. The timbers are 3 inches wide, and the shelf will rest in a 1 1/2 ” notch. I’ve also decided that the shelf should lean towards the customer, so they can see more of the produce at once, and it will make there selections easier. It will also allow motorists ( and buggies ) to see what’s available from a distance.
After making cuts every half inch or so between the top and bottom of the notch, cleaning it out was quite easy. Most of the wood will fall out with a diagonal strike from a hammer. The rest can be chiseled away with a hammer and screw-driver. The hammer above is one I fixed years ago. I found the metal portion while helping clean the barn, and decided I would attach a handle. After testing it out, I carved my initials in it, more as a symbol of creation then ownership. I also carved “USA” in the handle, to counter the labels of so many things in the country which read “Made in China”.
After about an hour and a half, I had the frame of the stand completed. I plan to add some 2 X 4 supports to the sides, and a cover for a roof. I also plan to add a more fitting cover for the shelf, as the wire will damage produce like Zucchini. Now comes the hard part: Do I paint the stand or leave it natural ?
Here it is market day again, and I’ve delivered my produce to the person who will be selling it. I’ve made it a point this time to be very clear about the entire process, drop off time, profit shares, pickup times, etc… I’ve learned that just because something is agreed upon once, does not mean it will work out. Sometimes plans need to be confirmed a few times, just so everyone is on the same page.
This offering is a bit less then last time, as my family and I have been pickling and eating quite a bit. The onions which were available for the last market are largely diced, bagged and frozen for the winter. The peppers are still growing, and are not yet large enough for sale. They might be a every other week item.
In the next few weeks, Corn will be ready for the market. My sister Maurice has gained permission from a land owner along 208 to have a garden stand, so I’m planning to build one, and begin stocking it daily. There will be plenty for the market, and a stand very soon.
Another garden crop is starting to ripen. In the last few weeks, I’ve found a few ripe tomatoes here and there, but within the last few days, we’re beginning to find larger clusters which are ripe. Last night, I found a cluster of five, which was the perfect timing for a salad I brought in for my co-workers.
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Bet your wondering why I have a fridge full of Cucumbers….. It all started last Thursday, when we were preparing our first market offering. I delivered the produce to my neighbors house as we had agreed. No one was home at the time, so I stacked the produce on the porch, and left a note on the door. In hind sight, I should have taken the day off. My neighbors had left for vacation earlier in the week, and didn’t think I would have anything ready yet, so they neglected to tell me. I even stopped by earlier in the week to confirm our plans, but they were not home then either. I really should have known better, but if there is any chance of miscommunication in the world, I will find it…..
It’s not all bad though, a few friends have relived me of some of the cucumbers and zucchini, and I’ve placed the rest in my fridge. I’ll save them for the next market, this Friday. This time I’m not dropping it off without face to face communication with the seller. I’ve also received permission to set up a small stand on a major road running near the garden. I plan to run the stand with the honor system, something I think will work in this small town.
So the outcome of my first market offering lead me to help some great friends, sell some produce to co-workers and I now have a place for a market stand. As the british say “Cheary-O”. That worked out well….
So here it is, my first market offering. I’ve very excited, and can feel the added electricity flow through my veins as I prepare. This is the point where I find out just where this gardening hobby will go from here. Will it become more then a activity I do for relaxing, and an actual source of income, or will it remain a way of saving money ? Either way, I will continue to grow massive gardens, hopefully for the rest of my life. I’ve grown quite fond of feeding myself on a whim, with food that’s super fresh, and abundant. It’s also quite humorous to watch the kids give tours of the garden to their friends….
I sit wondering how it will all turn out. I delivered my produce to my neighbors home; they were not there, so I piled the produce up on chairs on their porch. They are Amish, so I couldn’t call to double check the plans, I had to make a choice: Either drop it off and hope for the best, or wait for next week. I figured since I rarely gamble, I’d try my luck and see what happens. Worst case scenario: ground hogs, rabbits and vultures eat it; I’m not worried though, this is simply the start of the season. I’m sure with all this rain that has suddenly found it’s way here, more cucumbers will pop out of the ground.
Here’s hoping for the best !