[Market-farming] How was your summer

Sue Wells farmersue at hughes.net
Thu Nov 9 07:31:58 EST 2006

This was a very “challenging” year here in Vermont. I planted extra early
what I could, and that was a blessing for me. After that was planted, we got
too much rain, then a short dry spell then too much rain again. We had more
than normal rain fall throughout the summer. It was very hot for awhile,
then the temperature was about normal for here. I had planted a lot of okra,
but only got a few pounds from it. Last year was the best year here for the
okra. That was sad this year, as more people are learning about okra up

I was late having the normal crops but when they kicked in, they were great.

This was my second year of Farmers Markets. I did 3 each week. It was just
about too much for me. I do all the labor and selling by myself. My husband
and son did help me towards the end. Before that, they didn’t have the time.
It turned out to be a very good year but hard. I started out with about ½ to
¾ acre and ended up with about an acre. My neighbor is letting me use some
of his land next year, and then I will have about 2 acres or more to grow
on. I am very excited about this.  

My first planting of squash didn’t grow, later I planted more that was
great. The tomatoes had the early blight and probably more things happening
to them because of too much rain, but I still had plenty, but lost hundreds.

My beans did great and didn’t stop producing until we had the frost. My
celery did great, this was my first time planting celery. 

My green onions got too much water and weren’t as good.  

We also had an enormous amount of bugs this year. Last year, I planted a lot
of herbs, dill, parsley, and others and planted these in and around the
broccoli, and didn’t see many bugs, but this year, the herbs didn’t help at
all. I lost too much to the bugs. 

The Wednesday Farmers Market we could pretty much count on it to rain during
those, this year. People still came out, but not as many as when it was a
beautiful day. The Thursday Farmers Market was new this year, when it
rained, and it didn’t but a few times, thank goodness, no one came out. 

Saturday Farmers Market was new also. It attracted mainly tourists. It was a
hard market for me, as I was at the end, and by the time, and if they did
come down to me, they had already bought their vegetables. I sold a lot of
pickles there and zucchini bread, but not too much of my herb bread. I did
sell a lot of mixed lettuce at this one. 

I am still trying to figure out how to attract more customers. 

I made a 24 page vegetable/recipe booklet and gave that out at the beginning
of the season, then ran out and didn’t have time to print anymore. I had my
name and address and about my small farm stand, and the Farmers Markets I
went to. I was in the 4th of July with my new tractor, handing out small
envelopes of marigold seeds I had grown with my name (Farmer Sue) and where
I was. I had also given another lady a basket full of snow peas to give out
to the people to advertise our Farmers Market. The people loved the peas. I
had printed recipes out at the non raining Farmers Markets for people. My
stand looks very nice, nice tablecloths, the main one I have appliquéd
Farmer Sue onto it as well as the top of my tent/shelter. My displays looked
nice. I am still puzzled at what else to do to get more customers. My
vegetables look nice and they are fresh. I think what really hurts me is I
am not Organic Certified. I am organic, not certified. I keep racking my
brain as to what else I can do to attract more people. Other vegetable
vendors know more people at the Wednesday Farmers Markets than I do, and
that is a factor.  

When others had a good supply of vegetables, I was at a slump. I had lots of
things early in the season, when others were having problems, then the slump
hit me. But when my vegetables produced, sales were better. And all in all,
I really had a very good season.

I plan on growing fresh cut flowers this coming season. Maybe that will
attract more customers. I would love suggestions on which to grow. 

I did make and use the concrete blocks to hold the shelter down, and it was
great, but did still blow a couple of time. At one time, I used the concrete
( I always used these) and also had the back tied to benches that were
cemented into the ground and the shelter took off in the wind, couldn’t go
too far, but it did move a foot or so. 

I had wanted a website, but I didn’t do that and then I didn’t have the time
for it.



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