We started farming because we love to eat, and neither of us were happy with what we were eating. I had worked for Random House, publisher of Andrew Weil and Deepak Chopra, who each, to my ears, had the same message. Eat food that is real, not processed. The closest to a natural state is best. Put flowers on your table. Eat your veggies.
I'm over simplifying. But the basic message has not changed and we listened. We eliminated partially hydrogenated vegetable oil 15 years ago. High fructose corn syrup not long after that.
Then began a search for chicken with flavor. Not flavor enhanced..not salt with a long list of chemicals added to it, but clean clear flavor. Like the chickens Homer's mother raised. We couldn't find it. So we grew it. And then added eggs. Yum. The best eggs. Chicken and eggs that made a corporate career look..less attractive..
And the beef! The pork! The turkey! And those vegetables..
We thought entrance to the big, high traffic farmers markets we attended would be easy. Put up a table, an umbrella..and provide people searching for the best chicken and eggs exactly that..the best chicken and eggs! It has not, it turns out, been easy at all to get into the markets where we could be there 1 day a week, selling what we grow the rest of the week in one customer filled day.
And now, gas has jumped. The price is predicted to jump another $.25 per gallon over the next 11 weeks. That would be ok if we only needed a couple of gallons each week. But even our little, 4 cylinder, push the button not the remote locks, no cruise control truck uses a fair amount of gas.
So. We are limiting the number of farmers markets we attend. I have always loved a farmers market..from college and The Lexington Market, to Waverly and under the fallsway, to York Central, Hershey..and all the markets I checked out in every city I traveled to in my previous, on the road life.
But markets are a numbers game. There has to be enough foot traffic to offset that per gallon of gas, there needs to be a reason for me to be in one spot for 4-6 hours, not working on the farm.
My leap of faith? Only 2 markets this year. Farm pickups, CSA deliveries and restaurant sales. That is it. Egads we hope it generates enough for us to stay..farmers..scared to death..