Dripping Springs Farmer's Market!

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Is a Ranch Farmers Market Possible?

Hi I’m Mike We all have our honey do lists, sometimes its take out the trash sometimes its wash the car. And sometimes its the big one. Today Erin pulls out a marker, and hopefully we gain some points as she wants to have a farmers market, right here in the shop on the ranch, today. The last farmers market got called off in town, this is her redemption, on the project list on our wyoming life. Welcome back to our Wyoming life. Some weeks the project list takes a weird turn, sometimes its due to something breaking that needs fixed right away and sometimes its my own doing. Most of the time, I know what I have coming up and am able to plan for it and get it done. Today however is a bit different, this is a short notice project list and one that is pretty time dependent. If you are new here let me explain just a for a few seconds. The project list is the list on the board behind me here.

It’s a list of things that need done around here on the ranch and each Tuesday we pick something off the board and go for it. We walk through it and give you the how and the why we are doing it. Today we are straying from the norm, and I blame Erin. Not really, the whole ranch is a family affair and we said long ago that if we are going to do this we are going to have to work as a team. Today is a team effort. Last Saturday was supposed to be farmers market in town. Bad weather and other trade shows and the like it town caused Erin to cancel it. She decided that she didn’t want to be the only person there, and I don’t blame here. But like with most things, Erin cant just let it lie there. She feels a responsibility to her customers and she did already have a bunch of stuff picked and ready to go.

It has to go somewhere so in a spur of the moment decision, she decided to have a farmers market out here. Just us on the ranch, in the shop. Surprise surprise surprise. The shop is a disaster, we need to get it cleaned up and ready to go by 4 this afternoon. Erin is inside starting to make her baked goods for market and she will be out picking more vegetables later. Its now about 9 am, the animals have been fed, and now the clock is ticking. Heres how I hope today will go. I need to get the shop cleaned all out. Clean the floors a bit and get everything all nice and pretty to receive guests. We are going to have move the peacock back into the barn for a bit. Then hopefully Erin will be done baking and picking veggies, and be able to come down and help set up.

Someone will have to run into town about 3 and get girls from school, then come back and help finish up to be ready by 4. After getting all the big stuff that we can get out of the way, we can start with the small. All of the burnable trash, mostly cardboard will go to the incinerator where it will be burned. Everything else that needs to get put away is moved. Put away is a pretty strong term, lets just say restashed until later. Then its time to go and check in with Erin in the house and see where she sits. With a hope to be out picking veggies by noon we head back out to the shop.

Somethings are stashed in the sales barn, some stuff goes off to the kitchen in the shop. The big goal here is to get it out of the way and give the illusion of order. I’m good at that. Soon the shop is vacated of everything that doesn’t need to be in here, except for the peacock, he is taken back out to the barn for now and his new roost is moved out to the sales barn.

Out of site, out of mind. Floors are next up and its incredible to me how much dirt a shop floor can accumulate. I tend to sweep, then end up running a shop vac over hard to reach spaces and even Lincoln comes on out to lend a hand with the vacuum. Hearing protection included. Erin gives me a pass on scrubbing the floor, shes probably right, they wouldn’t be dry in time anyway and as noon comes and goes, she is still not out in the garden getting anything picked.

The clock keeps ticking and clean up continues and soon Erin is out and picking in the gardens. Harvesting lettuce during 40 degree weather. Kale, and salanova lettuce are both harvested. After harvesting, everything is put back to bed. Back to the shop, for washing and cleaning. Kale is bundled for sale and lettuce is packaged. By 3 its off to get kids and when I return Erin has tables set up and kids get to helping, sorting carrots into bins. Erin gets to pricing and by just a little after 4 we are ready to go. Signs are on the road to guide people in and if you build it, they will come.

And some do. This whole market at the ranch is a bit of experiment, will people drive the 20 minutes to come out, will they find it worthwhile. Customers can be fickle and I get it, time is money. But if we don’t try then we wont know. We decided to stay open for 4 hours, and there is a good amount of down time, its not the steady crowd that we deal with at summer market. But overall the day seems to be worth it. We often talk about exploring the ranch life and escaping the ordinary. More often than not, we escape our ordinary. Just like today, this was something that we have never done in quite this way. We had a summer market out here a few years ago, but this is first in November.

Was it worth it? I would like to think so. It was a good experiment, we didn’t get a lot of traffic, but those that did come, they spent money. They bought a lot of meat, so that’s a good thing. I ended up with a clean shop, although I still think I am going to have to clean the floors some more and Erin is happy. That’s all that matters, her customers that missed her last weekend were able to come out and get their shopping lists filled. We sold hams and roasts for thanksgiving and Christmas tables and that really makes it worth it. To be able to pass on our work to others to enjoy and actually be able to have the interaction with customers, for them, knowing exactly who they are buying their food from and for us, that personal connection. There’s nothing like it. Thanks for coming along today, it was a little hectic, a lot stressful but we got it done, and honestly I wasn’t sure we could pull it off.

This Thursday we are taking the day to spend with family so there will not be a full Thursday video from us, but we will be back on Sunday with our normal ranch video so we hope to see you then. Please hit that thumbs up and until I see you again, have a happy and safe thankgiving and thanks for joining us in our Wyoming life. .