Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Mid Summer

It's the time of year when the farmer's body has been moulded into a machine that gets up, works, goes to bed.  He forgets what it is to go out for a night on the town, with drinks and some kind of entertainment, like a good band.  He has only a few minutes before he turns out the light to read a passage of something unrelated to farming.

Markets have settled in for the season.  They are also well-oiled now, reliable and smooth - no longer the jerky, sputtering things they were at the beginning of the season when it was still chilly and wet and people scouted us out from the comfort of their passing cars.

And what have the markets been for us, first-time produce and dim sum vendors?  July was a good month.  Our sales increased significantly.  There are still slow days, and times when we wonder, what if people come for the novelty, and spread the word with enthusiasm, and then wash their hands of Long Road?  It's a challenge establishing returning clientele, though there are some people whom we see week in week out, and it's always nice to visit with them.  That is part of the appeal of the markets - it is a social place in a way that a big store is to a much lesser extent.  Yes, people say excuse me when they bump carts, and yes, most cashiers can do good small talk, but they can't talk for ten minutes, and there is no place for hovering around, it is a line that must keep moving.

There are locals and tourists at our markets, young and old, though it is the older people who are often the most interested in trying our food.  Often younger people come to the market and head straight for old-school treats, and steer clear of us because we are young too and maybe we make them uncomfortable.  We sell Chinese goods, but I have seen Chinese patrons come up as far as the neighbouring booth and then quickly cross to the other side.  It's funny how markets make people self-conscious in ways they wouldn't be in a grocery store.

We have some whole chickens that turned out wonderfully - small again, but top quality.  We will be fine with the chicken feet, livers and necks if the whole chickens sell out.  They are all in our freezer, interlaid with pork and frozen veggies.  It is the time of year when fall feels near and canning, freezing and making preserved vegetables becomes more pressing.