I am sorry for the lack of communication via the blog this summer, life got extremely crazy. I've been lucky to just keep the calf pages up to date. But as I roll into the last couple farmer's markets of the season, I figured that I would reflect back on it and let you all know what I've learned this summer.
1. People don't know what they don't know
I feel like this is the number 1 thing that I have run into at both markets we have attended this summer. With the public so far removed from the family farm they turn to google, Netflix, or any other "documentary" that they can find to give them their knowledge about what happens on the farm. When people come up and ask if my animals are fed organic, non-GMO feed, I politely say no they are not. They don't even give me a chance to say boo about it. Sometimes they react sometimes, they just walk away. How rude is that? Or the classic, "Are they grassfed?" "Why yes they are grass fed but they are not grass finished." People then look at you like you have 3 heads. Most people have no idea that there is infact a difference. Or then there's this: "is there anything in your meat, like the hormones and antibiotics that's in the store meat?" UGH, I can't even touch that question without getting way up on my soapbox.
2. Don't Leave the Lamb at Home
A couple weeks ago I decided to not take what I had left of my lamb cuts to the market. We ran with what we had available for beef and pork instead. My goodness how dumb that was. The lamb market in the area seems to ebb and flow oddly. I started out the summer selling lamb like hotcakes and then it slowed down and I would maybe sell a package a week. Now that summer is coming to a close, people can't get enough it seems like. So always take your inventory along with you. It's better to say you sold out for the day rather than I decided to not bring it. I turned too many customers away because of that dumb decision.
3. Be prepared for the weather
Best thing I bought this year was the canopy AND the bag weights that velcro around the legs. WInd is definitely your enemy and that pop up canopy will just be a sail. Starting at 7am I basically dress for all the weather... jacket, sweatshirt, t-shirt, jeans. Layers for the weirdo weather that Michigan has.
4. Make a deal
When trying to clear out inventory to make room for new, don't be afraid to make a deal. It may not be the most money in your pocket but that's ok. You have new product on the way!
5. Be friendly and remember your repeat customers!
When we first started in June, this was what I was afraid of doing. Striking up random conversation with people you've never seen before and trying to make that sale. It's definitely out of my comfort zone, but I've gotten better as time goes by...
6. Make it clear what you have available that day
I feel like because we can't have our product out on the tables like the produce guys, most people think that we don't actually have anything at the market that day. It's a hard thing, we have coolers and a freezer. A whole chalk board with the cuts we have and people still think they have to order it ahead for next week. So this is where I struggle, people will buy all the produce, flowers, and baked good they see but walk right on by that meat. Why not add a pork chop, burger, or roast to those veggies? I can't wrap my mind around a meal that doesn't have meat of some variety as the main source of protein. Maybe that's just me, my family, and extended family....
It's been a long summer. 3.25 steers, 3.5 pigs (2 to be added this week), 5 lambs... did I mention I have 75 chickens that will be ready to go next week?
Almost looking forward to just selling from home again...