September 5, 2012
The 2012 Sedalia Area Farmers’ Market has been memorable.
I recall in May setting up the tent and tables for the start of the season. On one side, I laid out several herbal therapy packs, “Boo-Boo Bags,” “Tummy Wraps” for colicky babies, herbal sea salt, brown sugar scrubs, and four flavors of lip balm. The table on the other side had baskets full of great smelling herbal soaps. I had made plenty of complexion bars with calendula and jewelweed soap for poison ivy. Lavender, lemongrass, and honey almond, along with oatmeal soaps, added to the fragrances that wafted out from the Bright Hope Farm booth. I also set up something new this year: a board of photos from our farm.
There was a visitor that day that stood out amongst the new and faithful customers. A familiar little voice called, “Farmer Annie, Farmer Annie!”
The little boy, about 4, pulled on his mother’s arm, trying to hurry her.
“Mom, it’s Farmer Annie!” He ran into the booth and picked up a bar of soap, sniffed and wrinkled his little nose as he tried another. His mom and older sisters caught up with him as he spied the picture board. He got excited as he started pointing to the pictures and telling his sisters about all the different animals.
“Look, this is Fire, the llama, and we got to color a picture of him. And this is Tommy the turkey and we got to pet him.”
I was amazed that he remembered so much from his visit to our farm. He was one of the children in the Sacred Heart preschool classes that took field trips to our farm the week before. The teacher had introduced me as Farmer Annie. He continued to point at the pictures and I helped fill in some names of the animals he couldn’t remember:
“Here is Ice the alpaca and Angelo the donkey. And, here is Tiny Tim, the miniature horse and Carmello the Shetland sheep. Here’s Buffy, the rabbit, Rock Star Rooster and the little Silkie. Look how pretty Queenie is! She’s a Sebastopol goose. Oh, here are the peacocks!”
We went through each picture, then he turned to his mom and said, “The next time I go to Farmer Annie’s I want to take my sisters too.”
His mom and I visited about having a kid’s birthday party at the farm and they picked out a couple of bars of soap to buy before they moved on to check out other booths. It was a great way to start out a new season at the market.
By the end of May, I started bringing in the blackberries for sale. They were a couple of weeks earlier this year than usual. Those first berries of the year always sell out so quickly.
In June, came the new potatoes and some lavender honey. Former customers grabbed the jars of honey, so they didn’t last long either.
I missed several markets due to the extreme heat; however, our garden didn’t let me take much of a break. I’ve canned 90 quarts of tomatoes and V-8 juice, 40 quarts of green beans, and a dozen quarts of zucchini relish. I also did several quarts of applesauce and batches of peach jam, elderberry jelly and syrup.
The last two markets in August were a lot of fun for me. I brought along our current WWOOFers and they provided music and cooking demos. What are WWOOfers? They are volunteers that travel from one host farm to another through an organization called WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). We have been a host farm for a little over a year. It is a hands-on learning opportunity. They volunteer their labor and we teach them about growing food organically, preserving it, caring for animals and anything else to help a farm to be self-sustaining.
I’m looking forward to more market memories. So, the next time you’re at the market be sure you stop in at the Bright Hope Farm booth. Check out the picture board and smell the soap. Smells and smiles are free.
Check out our web site at sites.google.com/site/brighthopefarm and like us on Faceboook. You can contact us to arrange a farm visit at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 660-596-3818.
Annie Albright is SAFM vendor