Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Successful First Day

Today was the first Farmer's Market of the year in Steubenville. I spent much of yesterday baking cupcakes and frosting them. That part didn't exactly go smoothly. First, the power was out for several hours that morning, so I got a much later start than I had intended. I thought that my cake recipes made about two dozen cupcakes, but I must have done something differently this time because it was really closer to three dozen. This was a problem because I made a double batch of the yellow cake, intending to make four dozen cupcakes. However, the batter spilled over the top and made some very messy looking cupcakes, as well as wasting a lot on the edges of the pan. I only made a single batch of the chocolate, and that worked out much better.

Although I enjoy baking, I don't have much practice with frosting or decorating cakes. I used the star tip on the piping bag, but was a bit discouraged by the results, although by the last dozen it was looking okay. Perception is a funny thing, though, because the people at the farmer's market exclaimed over how pretty the cupcakes were.

The cupcake boxes I had ordered hadn't come in yet, so I had to improvise by lining jelly jar boxes with foil. It was fine for transporting them, but things got a little bit tricky when people wanted to buy more than one cupcake at a time. It worked out, though. My cupcake boxes arrived this afternoon, so next time my presentation and packaging will be much better. I think I'll also wrap some individually in plastic wrap.

I needed to sell 20 cupcakes to make back the vendor fee, and I met that goal fairly easily. At around 12:15, though, Paul started talking about packing things up, since it had been about an hour since the last sale and it was getting pretty hot out there (I need to find our shade thingy; I think we have one somewhere). However, I wanted to wait a little bit longer, since it was still lunchtime. In the next 15 minutes, there were a couple more individual sales and one guy who bought two dozen at once! We ended up with only 11 cupcakes left over (out of 6 dozen to start), so I think I gauged the market pretty well. Next week we will have wild black raspberries to sell as well as the cupcakes, since they are just starting to ripen.

The vendor right next to us was a woman selling rolls and cookies, and she was really nice. I enjoyed talking with her during the lulls in business. She has a four-year-old boy who was there for the latter part of the day, so Cerra had a great time playing with him. All in all, I feel like our first farmer's market went very well.

There's also a market in Barnesville on Saturdays that we will be going to starting next week. That one allows egg sales, although there are several regulatory hoops we would need to jump through first. I spoke with the Department of Agriculture and the county health department, and the requirements look doable. I'll write more about my research in another post, since a thunderstorm is blowing in right now.

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