This last Saturday was my very first Farmers’ Market! Well, not ever, but it was the first Farmers’ Market that I have attended as a vendor, rather than as a patron. I have always loved going to the Market. My true first time was in Bloomington, Indiana, where they have a truly magical Farmers’ Market, and where I fell in love with the local food movement.
I remember my first experience, because it was vivid with colors and sounds and many wonderful tastes. Fresh cut flowers arranged exotically, and lovingly placed into simple mason jars, the maple syrup man urging me again and again to taste his best-tasting season of syrup, accidentally bumping into the throngs of people all smiling back as a way to say “sorry but not sorry because there’s too many people around us for me to avoid bumping into you”, a long, well-worth-the-wait line for coffee, just because it feels good to walk around the market with a hot coffee in your hands, and of course, everything local. Foods made from scratch, possibly just down the street from that little parking lot by City Hall. Farmers with their fresh fruit and vegetables, their livelihood, set out on a plastic table covered with linen and old wine crates, talking with patrons like they’re old friends, because they probably are.
Everything about it just felt alive and real, and I knew that I wanted to be a part of it. The hustle and bustle, the excitement, the good vibes, the friendly smiles, the banjos, and the dancing children. It all just felt so right. So when I could, I would return. Saturday mornings are tough to wake up for when you’re in college. For me, it wasn’t because I was hungover from a crazy Friday night, but because most of my weeknights were spent staying up extremely late finishing up procrastinated homework due to spending too much time enjoying the finer things of college life, like rock climbing, kayaking, laying out on the lawn, and journaling my innermost thoughts with a bottomless cup of coffee at my favorite coffee shop.
Anyways, I went back to the market a lot after that lovely first experience, and eventually I made personal connections with the vendors. I went to the same guy for my spinach because they were so crispy and sweet, I always bought honey from the lady who told me a story about how much she loves her bees, and I would always buy my fruit from the amish vendors with the lovely little kids, because they were so sweet and I’m thinking their sweetness was somehow transferred into their peaches by osmosis. But my favorite, absolute favorite, tents to wander by at the market, were the ones selling baked goods and preserves. It felt like such a treat, just to look at all they had to offer. And for some reason, the women behind the table looked so glamorous to me in their simple linen aprons and messy buns. I remember thinking to myself on numerous occasions, gosh, how cool would it be if I could one day sell my homemade food at a farmers’ market?
Now fast-forward about six years, and it’s so beautiful to see that I did it, I really did. But it definitely wasn’t as easy as it seemed back then through my wide-eyed college-girl perspective. There has been so much leading up to this moment, and this is hardly even the pinnacle. I have poured my heart, soul, time, and energy into this business, because I believe in it that much and because it fills me with joy, even the boring spreadsheet stuff. I know, crazy, right?
I am so thankful for the opportunities that have been coming my way (some top-secret, big stuff coming up, ya'll!), and I will never ever take any of it for granted. This, all of this, is a gift. I loved meeting so many lovely people from the community this past Saturday, and I sure hope you will return and say hello to me the next time I'm at the Broad Ripple Farmers' Market (dates posted on the homepage!). Thank you for all of your kind, encouraging words. Thank you to the people who told me that they have empty Pure & Good Foods' jars lining their kitchens because they love it that much. Thank you for your mmm's and wow-that's-amazing's that keep me excited about what I'm doing. Love you all from the bottom of my heart!