Well, yesterday was huge for FusionFarm in lots of ways. RVGC is the big show, for sure. I set up with my tiny starts on my tiny table and a tiny basket of “the salad mix to come” (because of course I didn’t have any to sell)–feeling pretty… uh, tiny. The voices in my head chimed in– ‘In a little over our heads maybe Shani?’ Yes, and, who knows, but it turns out I’ll be revising my revised market schedule, because that’s the reality of the situation right now.
I will tell you that this point hit home hard for me yesterday–it’s possible that we take for granted the number of seriously bad-ass growers we have in this region–let me just remind you that we are beyond blessed to have so many people mindfully and heartfully growing our food for us.
Whatever price they’re asking is worth it–there is so, so, so very much for them to think about and do all the time, and the farmers work like nobody else on the planet.
We’re talking about very young people who had already interned at many other farms before they got their own scenes going, and as a result have a ton of experience and wisdom about growing.
So mostly, I got to learn how very much I have to learn. Not in the “learning opportunity” way that I mentioned yesterday, but in the “wow, THIS is exciting, holy s*$! I’ve got to move my ass” kind of way.
Before the bell rang, I cornered a couple of the more successful grower/businesspeople about my flea beetle woes. They were gracious in light of my relative inexperience, totally willing to share what they knew based on their experience, and just really nice folks in general. I was so impressed by that. I guess I was expecting to see more of an old cutthroat business model and was under the impression that people might have their elbows out a little more, be a little bit more competitive and unwilling to care about my little issue. Not so. Not that I’m any big threat to anyone out there, but the receptivity was a wonderful surprise.
The crop losses that folks with more land are able to absorb and work around, are the same lossess that are devastating for someone like me. For example, before a conversation I had with one farmer, my thinking was that I couldn’t so much afford to plant part of a row of red mustard to trap the critters and keep them off my other more valuable crops–I NEED that red mustard! But it’s what the beetles want, so unless I can somehow change their minds about eating it, I’ve either got to be better at protecting it, or just plant it for them and stop resisting. Of course the other growers knew that, they knew how, and I appreciated their great ideas and help. While it will create more a lot more work for me on top of everything else, I love that work, and it is better to start over and do it right.
Maybe some people out there are more stuck in old ways of doing biz (because we are dealing with a variety of humans afterall), but that was certainly not my experience yesterday.
As far as my experience in my booth went…it was a great time. I’m sure it helped that I scored one of the more established grower’s spot for the day because they didn’t come, and people are used to looking there. My neighbors were cool. I was right across the way from Rosa the tamale lady, and I always have a blast rapping out with her in Spanish, she’s hilarious. I got to see first-hand how long her line gets at lunchtime. Whoa.
I had many other real conversations with smart and funny people. LOTS of friends came looking for me to support and hang out. Other folks I didn’t know either bought starts, or commented on the beautiful salad mix with the pretty flowers on the table.
I even sold the tiny little bag of greens I had to freshen up my demo for a couple of bucks, and my friend Kevin insisted on buying that half-wilted demo at the end of the day! Hope it perked up for you in water, buddy.
After reading yesterday’s blog post, Tim (grower extraordinaire) rolled down to the market with an organic critter remedy for me to try. How cool is that?
So that’s the other piece that closes the circle and keeps it spinning and growing in healthy ways–it’s the vast community support of this market that makes it work.
I felt so proud of my little town yesterday, and I hope to be out at that market more.