Today was the beginning of my summer season. I love getting out and meeting new people from all over the world. The beginning of the season is always a bit slow, as a lot of the people who frequent Farmer’s Markets are looking for just that, Farmers. But it’s a little bit early for most vegetables here, so a lot of the vendors are things other than Farmers. But there was still a great variety in options – Art (of course, but not just mine, several stands of beautiful art), lots of goodies, like cookies and tamales, breads, jams and jellies, lots of nonedible items like soaps, jewelry, woodcrafts, as well as the precursor to vegetables, plants for the garden. It was a great day, and a good start to the Farmer’s Market season, and turned out not as slow as I had suspected that it might be.
My favorite part of the Willow Farmer’s Market however is the local people. I love talking to all the people that I don’t really get to see any other place, but who have always made it a point to come and talk to me, they have become friends. I also love talking to all my friends who I do see other places, but who stop by and visit anyway, it makes the day go faster, especially during the slow times of day during the market. I also quite enjoy the kids. Over the years through helping at the local Elementary school, as well as through teaching piano, and friends of my children, I know a lot of the local kids and teens, and they are super outgoing and come and talk to me. They love to share what they are doing, what their plans are for the summer, or if they’re older, plans for the future. They ask about my kids if they know them, and they are just fun to be around. The Willow Farmer’s Market feels like home, feels like family. I have been to other markets, and maybe it’s because it’s not my town, but it feels different, and the bigger the market, the less hometown feel there is.
The other vendors are fun to get to know as well. I have one neighbor that is always the same, Tamales, and they are delicious, and it always smells good in our area! They are awesome neighbors and I’m glad that I can be next door to them every week. The other neighbor will vary somewhat, but it’s always fun to get to know the various people, learn about where they are from, and learn about their products. By the end of the season, it feels like there is a comradery there. Maybe that’s the entrepreneurial spirit in each one of us, maybe it just feels like that to me, I don’t know, but I like it, and I am grateful for all the vendors who show up to sell. It makes the market successful when there are more vendors, and lots of variety, because people don’t want to feel like they’ve wasted their time showing up if there’s not much to see.
The last thing I will mention that I love about summer markets is the small business aspect of things. Everyone there is a small business, and the people who show up to the markets are the ones who not only say they support local small businesses, but who actually get out and do it! Small businesses build better economies but more importantly, they build better communities. And those people who own small businesses usually pour the money they earn back into their local economies by buying from other small businesses as well, they know what it’s like and they support each other. I am not against large corporation, and I am in favor of capitalism for the most part, but if you’re looking for unique, high-quality products, you should check out your local small businesses. They are more concerned with customer service and customer satisfaction, in most cases, than are large corporations who sell to millions of people, so the unsatisfied individual is less of a concern for them. Farmer’s Markets, and any kind of summer market is a great place to go spend a little time. If you haven’t been to one, you really need to go!