After I finished my farmer’s market in Texas Township this week, I was able to chat with the Market Manager about how my day went. We had the typical “after market” conversation which begins with the question, How were your sales today?
It was one of our slowest days at the market this year. So we then discussed why there was a dip in sales. Any festivals going on? Did the weather play a role? Was it just us, or were other vendors slow as well? After almost 20 years of attending farmer’s markets, we know that every weekend won’t be a banger weekend. If it was a guarantee, everyone would be doing it. We also know that every time we venture home from the market, we all will partake in the typical “after market” conversation.
Did you have a good day?
What did you sell the most of?
How was the weather?
Any smoked fish left?
Did (insert regular customer’s name) show up and if so how’s their mother doing?
When my sister was able to attend the market with my Dad in Downers Grove a couple weekends ago, we really enjoyed her “after market” story. It was her first time going with Dad to a market in a really long time. She is a dental assistant and pursuing a career in nursing, so her schedule is a bit tight. But when Dad called her up, she was happy to accept!
Her day starts out with set-up, and then Dad escapes to breakfast. Every Saturday morning, Dad goes and sits down at Egg Harbor Cafe and eats a hearty farmer’s breakfast alone before market begins. They know him by name and have his order ready for him.
When he returns, the customers start trickling in, with one every few minutes. Dad sets up his chair, and has a seat while Jamie tends to the stand. After the first hour or so, she then notices a line forming at the booth. She also notices that the line is pointing straight to Dad’s chair.
She couldn’t believe that the people were lined up just to talk to Dad, and not necessarily about pork either. Some needed life advice; others wanted to chat about their latest outdoor project; and some wanted to let him know that the herring they prepared the way he advised, turned out perfectly. She related it to how children line up to see Santa Clause; it was hysterical. After the customers finish chatting with Dad, they then venture to my sister to make their purchases.
Hearing about her day made us all smile and laugh. Everyone who has had the pleasure of working with Dad at the Downers Grove market is familiar with her story, yet the story never gets old.
This little story also showcases the real importance of farmer’s markets…having the ability to talk with your farmer. And trust me, we treasure every conversation. We enjoy that relationship so much, that we keep coming back to the markets, year after year, even knowing that our sales will take a dip a few times due to bad weather or a nearby festival.
The markets take our business beyond a transaction. They give us the ability to get to know you, and to adapt to the information you are willing to share. We grow every year based on the conversations with you. Sometimes they make us laugh, and sometimes they even make us shed a tear. We keep you all close to our hearts, and pray for you during good times and tough times in your lives. So thank you for chatting with us and lining up, we may not bring you your favorite toy like Santa Clause, but we can certainly bring you your favorite kind of bacon.