Tales from the Farmers Market

25 Sep

The Irvine Farmers Market ranks as the largest in Orange County. The OC Farm Bureau has been holding it in the parking lot of the University Town Center across the street from UCI for I don’t know how long – when my 18-year-old was a wacky, “run around in circles” toddler we tried to show the market without losing him – so needless to say that the market is a long-running fixture in OC.
The Bakery started selling at the Irvine Market over 5 years ago. The products have changed and evolved – we’ve dropped lots of items and added others – because, at the market, we are limited to selling packaged food that can sit at room temperature for at least 4 hours. And, of course, the health department sends their inspectors around every few months to check our labeling, packaging, “hand washing station”, stocking of instant read thermometers and stuff like that.
The Farmers Markets provide a steady, yet dynamic way to interact with and build up a customer base. The actually selling (when it’s busy) is the best part – lugging around products, tables, tents, etc, not so much. But getting to chat with the people who eat your food is invaluable.
I used to not like going to the market – it would emotionally flash me back to a time when our business was just getting off the ground and the markets could be torture. If it was going slow, I started to feel so down, taking every passersby that didn’t stop as a personal failure. We’ve had employees selling at the market for us for years, but here I am, back at the market. Instead of being chained to the buttercream and fondant bucket on Saturdays (Katie gets to do that!), I see it now as a treat to “play hooky” at the market – meanwhile catching up with old friends and acquaintances & fielding requests for different products and flavors. So, here I go to the market today! In the meantime, here are some pictures from markets past. You can see for yourself.

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