Disappointment is never easy, especially when people are involved.
If a situation is disappointing, it could be because of timing, such as how many red lights can you actually hit while you are late for work, or because of choices, like when you spend your last dollar in a slot machine, and as you walk away, you hear it singing for the guy who sat down behind you.
But we want people to be the best for us, and meet our expectations. If a supplier promises to have a certain quantity of an item we need in delivering a unique creation and they end up over-promising and under-delivering, we tend not to look beyond the person who spoke the words “It’ll be there.” We aren’t interested in why they couldn’t make it work, we just know how it affects us.
So it was that a group of people made some decisions that affect the Farm’s ability to participate in planning the 2018 Farmer’s Market. It was to be in a new, modern (and enclosed) location, with electricity, heating a working commercial kitchen, the works. Plus, the city was going to waive stall fees.
We were very excited and have been trying out new flavored salts recipes (with accompanying costs for exotic ingredients), breads (again, equipment and ingredient costs) and marketing materials (banners with hard-surface stands and adorable egg stamps). Though initial plans were for all interested vendor to be a part of this group, it’s evolved to a very small group of ‘elite vendors’, whatever that means, to make decisions for the rest of the Market participants. And as there is a wide variety of vendors who offer goods from edibles, to handmade items, to services, we felt they all had unique perspectives and should be permitted to voice opinions and concerns.
It is not to be.
I spent a couple of hours trying to define responsibility and blame for what I saw was a breakdown in communication, intention and basic good manners. However, that is not my Thing To Know and all I can do is look to my Farm.
While we may not be at The Farmer’s Market in 2018 (or any Market, for that matter), it seems other opportunities may open up.
We are eagerly awaiting news of December kids from North Sand Mountain’s Dark Mark. We want a doeling to expand both our general meat lines and color genetics. We have yet to name the little black and white paint buck that we retained from this year’s kid crop, but he (along with Blackhawk and Pharoah) is getting show rations in anticipation for the spring shows. It’s something I’ve not done yet and will spend the winter creating isolation pens for when the stock returns from shows.
Also, we have interest in a couple of Blue Face Leicester ewe lambs to support fleece customers and generally enjoy BFL as a breed. Quality BFL sheep are very scarce, moorit (natural or brown colored) wool moreso, so though the breed isn’t on the Livestock Conservancy watchlist, a sister breed, the Leicester Longwool is, and the scarcity of breeders make them a good fit for the Farm’s mission.
We were very successful with pork shares this year and are considering increasing the number for 2018. We also processed a couple of lambs, and they sold very quickly as well. A (surprisingly) close fiber mill is creating two signature roving blends, and the 2017 lamb fleeces continue to develop nicely and improve in structure and luster.
So when we start looking at what we have instead of what we don’t, perspective changes. If the Farm isn’t present at a Farmer’s Market, where we did well sales-wise, we would have time to attend competitions and shows farther away from the local area and expand the customer base. Perhaps we would offer a greater range of small-stock transportation services, which in turn would expand the customer base and the types of services. Other opportunities will surely present themselves and not being tied to an ongoing commitment might be a good thing.
Check the website and Facebook in the coming weeks. Could be we will have just the thing for you!