Archive for Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Farmer’s Market

Vegetables sell out on inaugural weekend

July 11, 2007

The early bird catches the worm, or in Tonganoxie Farmer's Market terms, the early shopper gets the tomato.

Within about an hour of its 7 a.m. opening, vendors at the first-ever Historical Farmer's Market were all out of tomatoes, berries, green beans and other goodies, leavening behind an a small variety of picked-over favorites like cucumbers, peppers and onions.

Brenda Wood and her husband, Pete, who started the market sold out of green beans and new potatoes within the first half hours.

"I'm just really happy to see that people are really interested in it," Brenda Wood said.

Of the 15 vendors Brenda Wood expected for the inaugural Farmer's Market, about eight made it out. In addition to food items, they also brought homemade crafts such as sun catchers and benches. One vendor even was selling canaries.

Brenda Wood said several vendors canceled at the last minute because they wanted her to test the waters before they committed to setting up their stand.

Shelly Hunter and her daughter, Madison, of Hillside Berries also wanted to test and see how well the market would be. They only gathered four gallons of berries to sell at the market. By the time the market came to a close, they had sold their original four gallons within the first hour and had more than doubled their sales with orders of the handpicked berries that will be delivered throughout the week.

"Eighty dollars in one hour isn't too bad," said Shelly, who will now bring homemade jam to sell. "I'm definitely onboard for next week."

Other vendors besides the Hunters also were having a banner day.

Rita Brown said she did well at her first try selling extra vegetables from her garden. Her best produce went quickly.

"I got tired of watching them go to waste," Brown said about vegetables from her garden in previous years.

She also was selling her jalapeño spread, which most customers were reluctant to try even when Brown assured them it was not very hot.

Although the food vendors were selling out, craft vendors were holding on to the sales they could get.

Jean McAlexander, who was running the Jean's Crafts and More stand, said this was her first year opening a booth. McAlexander, whose shop specializes in handmade crocheted blankets, pot holders and some furniture, got her start at this year's Tonganoxie Days.

"There were not as many people as there should have been in Tonganoxie Days," McAlexander said. "This is our learning experience I guess."

Vickie Conrad, of Conrad Creations, also was used to busier crowds like during Tonganoxie Days but said she loved the hometown environment of the market.

"I like that everyone can just walk around and visit," Conrad said. "Since everybody is local, it does have that homey feel."

Although the market was never crowded and at some points only the vendors were around, there still was enough support that Brenda Wood said she would be happy to continue the market for as long as she can. But she wanted to remind customers that the earlier they come, the better the produce they are going to get.

And don't worry if you skip breakfast to get to the market early. Within about two hours Mickey True and her daughter Jessica had sold nearly 30 of 40 cinnamon rolls made from her mother's secret recipe to shoppers. The recently retired 16-year veteran baker for the Tonganoxie School District said she would definitely bring more cinnamon rolls next week and also would bring some fried bread.

And after many requests, True said she would also entertain the thought of bringing coffee to go with her treats.

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