It started off as a question from one of the owners / managers of The Kentucky Highlander Renaissance Festival.
“Would you like to sell plants and produce at the festival?”
The question came from Holly Sprabary via Facebook. I’ve been forging at the festival for years, but had never thought to combine produce and plants with the metal work. Worried that very little produce would be ready in time for the event, I got to work on ways to combine black metal / forged goods with plants.
The first thought was hanging baskets like the one on the left with a cherry tomato plant. On the first day of fair, Holly and her mother were overheard speaking about how great they looked in the building’s window. I was thrilled, but it wasn’t until Holly, her mother, and other organizers / managers / owners expressed interest in purchasing some for themselves that I really felt proud. That really made my day. Gave me the feeling I am moving in the direction the fair itself desires.
Produce tricked in as the weekends went bye. First zucchini, then radish and beats. The beats weren’t good sellers at all. Thinking about what we do with beats, I can see why. Typically we pickle and can them. In retrospect, folk who pickle and can tends to grow their own. We sold a bundle of radish or two, but it was the zucchini which sold well from day one. At a dollar a piece, we are not talking wealth but it did make me think we were on to something.
Towards the last weekend of the fair, other produce was starting to come in. We started to wonder if sales wouldn’t be better towards the front gate. It seemed as if produce was something that a person would pick up on their way out of a festival so as not to carry it around all day. After a conversation between Ashley and Holly, we had use of the wood cart pictured above.
Saturday saw almost no produce sales from the cart by 4:00 PM. I was a wee bit dissapointed, but then word came to the booth that Ashley was running low on a couple items. A quick trip to see the cart confirmed that we were right about purchases being when folk started to leave the fair. By the time we closed on Saturday, we had a list of things we had to harvest the next morning.
On top of that list, baby red potato. Seems a paper lunch bag full for $2.00 was an excellent price. Next, carrots which we sold for a dollar a bundle. Green tomato had also run out, but we hadn’t started with all that many.
By close of business Sunday, it was fairly obvious the effort was well worth what we put into it and then some. Although nobody got rich, the cart idea was cobbled together at the last moment and the variety of produce we had to offer was not wide. But we still did OK. Enough so that we plan on building a more appropriate cart for next year as well as hopes to finish a partially underground greenhouse project in the hopes of offering a wider variety earlier in the fair season next year.
Many thanks to Holly, her family, and of course Ashley for giving me much hope for the produce efforts. Things are looking up for an effort I can put forth more on my butt (pulling weeds) than feet. With my feet being what they are, this has provided a much needed positive outlook.
Now it is on to the various swap meets and other opportunities to show off and sell our produce. Things are looking up.