Farm Market

Dateline: 1 August 2006

My wife, Marlene, and son, James, have been selling their homemade baked goods at the farmer’s market in Skaneateles, N.Y. on Thursday afternoons. Marlene has done the farmer’s market for 6 years. Our three sons have each been involved in the market enterprise at times along the way. This year, it’s just James.

Marlene puts in a grueling couple of days getting ready for the market each week, but her little home enterprise has a loyal customer following and that is very satisfying. It is a creative outlet that makes money.

Unfortunately, the market is unpredictable— some days are better than others. This year business seems slower than last year and all the vendors are noticing it. But, overall, Marlene is doing well. James is too. This first photo (below) shows a selection of Marlene’s breads on cooling racks in our kitchen. They are about to be bagged and labeled.

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This next photo shows our gas guzzling Explorer packed and ready to go to the market. There are 45 full-size loaves of bread in there. The full-size loaves sell for $4.00 each and these are the different kinds: Oatmeal, Oatmeal-Raisin, Whole Wheat, Country White, Cracked Wheat & Oat, Wheat & Toasted Walnut, and Nutty Grain.

Marlene’s Nutty Grain is her most popular bread. It contains unbleached white flour, rolled oats, sunflower seeds, cashews, sesame seeds, flax seeds, honey, olive oil, salt, and yeast. The Oatmeal Raisin is popular too. The whole wheat breads contain a mixture of unbleached white flour and whole wheat flour that we grind ourselves in the kitchen in an electric stone mill.

The mill was purchased in the 1970s by a friend of my mother. Her friend gave it to her and my mother eventually passed it on to us. We have put hundreds of pounds of wheat berries through the grinder without any problems. It’s a Marathon mill.

Back to the contents of the Explorer...

In addition to those 45 loaves, there are 10 mini loaves of zucchini bread, 10 mini loaves of banana bread, 10 mini loaves of carrot cake (with frosting), 10 plates of cinnamon rolls and lots of cookies. The cinnamon rolls have become popular this year with Marlene’s customers.

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Here’s a picture of Marlene and James at the market. You may notice there is no Explorer in this picture. That’s because the previous pictures and this one are not from the same week. That old car is Marlene’s mother’s. Our Explorer broke down the day before market and she had to pack everything into the car. The show must go on!

This picture looks like Marlene is the only vendor at the market, but she is actually in a long row of vendors and there is another row of tents across from her too.

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And here is a picture of Marlene selling her bread, with money in her hand and a smile on her face.

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Click Here to read a rare (as in, the only) blog post written by my wife, Marlene, telling about her farm market business.


Lori said...

The bread looks so yummy you can almost smell it. Good luck with the sales:)

Marci said...

Great pictures. You can hear your pride in your lovely wife and her endeavors.

Marlene, WAY TO GO!!! You are doing a great job!!!

Emily said...

Herrick! Welcome back! Good to hear of all the goings-on at your little homestead. Congratulations to Marlene! Look at all those luscious loaves. She certainly looks as though she is enjoying the fruits of her labor. We've had a busy month getting our coop ready for the chickens and guineas but are finished at last and they are happy as clams in their new home. God's blessings to you and your family!

Faith Proctor said...

Thank you for the lovely pictures and post, what an inspiration Marlene is. I think when I am having a lazy spell I will look back to all of that beautiful bread, and think of her working hard. The smile on her face is indication that hard work pays off and brings glory to God.

Carla Lynne said...

I agree that you can see in Marlene's smile (and in your writing about market days and ways) a good pride in a job well done.

Thanks for sharing such great pics and info., Herrick, and for rising up and calling your wife blessed... it is nice to hear a husband speak with such love and admiration for their beloved.

Huskerbabe said...

I'm just sitting here wondering if you have a double oven. I bake bread twice a week, but I've never had orders for more than 18 loaves on a given day. I can only get 6 in my oven at a time.
Also, curious about what she does with what she doesn't sell? Put it in the freezer for the family or mark it down at the end of the day?

Herrick Kimball said...

For the summer market months I bring an additional oven into the house. That helps. It also helps that I modified Marlene's kitchen oven so she can now bake 12 instead of 6 loaves at a time. You can read about the modifications a few blogs back (Marlene's "New "Hearth Oven).

Extra bread after the market is a sometimes problem. This last week she had only one loaf left. But when there more, Marlene freezes them for our use, or trades them for produce from other vendors at the market, or she has a handful of people close to home that she will call up and they will usually take a loaf or two if she will deliver it to them. She rarely marks it down.

MrsBurns said...

I am so glad to see another farm market booth with great sales that does not have matching tablecloths! My cloths are totally different colors as well and I've been thinking I needed something new to "coordinate" my look. Your photos today have convicted me that I do not need such a thing and I will finish out the summer with what I have (b/c it's working for us....either that, or the tasty produce and friendly service!) Glad you're back.

Janell said...

I found your site by googling "Marathon Mill." I have one that was new in the 1970's (I inherited mine from my mother-in-law). Does anyone know how to attach the crank handle so I can use it if the electricity goes off? Thanks, Janell