Monday, June 10, 2013

Market Watch

I know people must thing we’re crazy doing the market again, but sometimes you just gotta be a little crazy. Like Henry Bukowski said, “Some people never go crazy, what horrible lives they must lead.”

We currently have one market under our belt for this year, and it wasn’t that bad. I think a big part of it was not having the entire week preparing the goods, it really only took one big dedicated day, and we were ready to roll. Also, we decided to cook the stuff at home and just serve at the market. I can’t even begin to tell you how much easier it was.

First off, we lucked out on the weather, it was sunny and beautiful. It was a little complicated by the fact that A had her end of the year banquet, and we were also watching ES for most of the day. By the time market day rolled around, we had a ton of preparation to do, and in retrospect, we planned it poorly and will change our ways for the next one. Part of the problem was we are still working things out, and had no idea how much product to make. We weren’t sure how many falafels we would sell. Who eats falafels in this area? We figured if anyone was going to eat them, it was going to be the folks in the big city, especially college kids.

On Wednesday morning, I woke up early and got to work immediately. We planned on making enough falafels for about 50 sandwiches, which at three balls per sandwich comes out to 150 balls. Then we needed to calculate how much lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers we’d need, not to mention special sauce. We ordered the breads online, and the shipping killed us, but it was the pita we wanted, so we went for it. I’ll continue searching for other options.

Our mistake was waiting until the morning of market to make the mix, because it took a lot of time. Then I had to cook them all, which in itself wasn’t so bad, but again, coupled with the mixing took all day. I was lucky that R stayed home because she could attend to the kids and make lunch while I slaved away over a hot stove. Again, we were lucky the weather was so nice.

At some point I took the R&E over to their banquet and we were ready to roll. I cooked a little over 150 balls, and we had veggies and sauce. We loaded our cars and headed over, and right away we ran into problems. I forgot a couple of things, and went back to get them, only to forget even more things. We simply had to do without them, but it made me late. I was also supposed to pick up apple cider, but when I got to the store, they didn’t have any. It’s a seasonal item and it’s too early. Bummer.

I got the field and R had set up a bunch of stuff. We got to work right away, and even though we didn’t have a lot of time, it was a breeze because we weren’t cooking. All we had to do was set up the tent and tables, get the food prep ready, and we could rock and roll. Making the sandwiches was a breeze, and the market wasn’t too crazy. Our biggest concern was that we weren’t going to sell anything, and that turned out not to be the case. In fact, we sold out. I couldn’t believe it.

Now we weren’t there last year, but it sure seemed to me that the market was slower, which is strange because the big city has an endless supply of young people because of the college. It also seemed to me that the market was smaller with not a huge variety of foods to eat, at least foods substantial enough to make a meal. I think that’s why our falafels sold. In fact, we had people asking what they were, and one or two adventurous people even tried one. I admire that.

I have to admit, it was a nice time. As I mentioned, the day was beautiful, and we saw many old friends, several of whom stopped by and said they missed us last year. They were surprised to see us doing something different than dumplings, but c’est la vie, as the saying goes. N helped out with the transactions, and it’s cute seeing him at work, he takes it very seriously. In the end, we probably could have sold maybe 15%-20% more than we had brought, mainly because we sold out before the dinner time rush. We are also toying with adding french fries to the mix, which will make it crazier, but we can’t help but think they’ll be popular.

So many things to think about, so little time. Stay tuned for more about our market adventures. Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Francisco Sosa Lemus for the pic.

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