Market day started off as usual: it was hot, and the sun was shiny brightly. We started off with the usual morning meeting, then we went outside and walked over to the blueberry patch. We picked quite a bit of blueberries, they were plump and tasted very good. While we were picking blueberries, three other Yappers were inside baking blueberry bread (which was very good). When we were finished we went inside and started to do the usual preparation for market. We ate lunch, then left at 2:00 for Rutland. Once we got to downtown Rutland we set up all our items and opened up for customers. Everything was going well in the first hour, but then the weather took an unexpected turn. First the clouds rolled in, and then the wind started to pick up. At first we thought we would ride it through, but then it started to rain, then downpour. By then we were putting our food back in to the van. The rain was coming down hard and everyone was getting soaked. After we managed to get all food and crafts into the van, all we had left to do was the tent. With the wind blowing hard it made the task of taking down the tent grueling, but we managed to do it. It was a very exhilarating experience.
To be part of a farmers’ market is special, for the idea of them is to bring fresh local produce to the consumers. At the market the consumer knows they’re getting fresh produce, or even just baked breads, muffins and many other products. In holding a farmers market, local farmers cut out the middle man. Best of all farmers’ markets are local, regional community people selling their produce.
Many products are generally found at market. For example, Smokey House brings a variety of goods to the Rutland Farmers’ Market every Wednesday. Some of the things include anything from garden markers, to fresh vegetables, freshly made breads that morning, or more types of craft then I can name. And some of the other vendors that come bring many different products. For instance at Brown’s Orchard stand they have apples, cider, veggies, baked goods, honey and sweet corn. One of the other vendors is Olga, who runs a meat stand. One cool fact about Olga is her cows are grass fed, meaning they roam about grazing all day. There are still a handful of other vendors: one lady and man sell nothing but freshly cooked pierogi, at another spot a woman sells tidied t-shirts. Whatever it maybe that these people have made, grown or just simply crafted, the farmers’ market is a place that people gather to sell their goods.
The day started off as usual. First we went into the garden, did some weeding, and harvested some of the potatoes. Then we split up into two groups: one continued to weed the garden while the other went inside to make strawberry jam. Next we went inside to eat lunch. Afterwords we worked a little on crafts, then we all grabbed water and headed down the road towards the woods. While we were walking down the road I started to immediately notice some of the invasives I worked with when I was at the state park with the zen garden. They were: buckthorn, honeysuckle, knotweed ,and one other that I can’t remember.
Finally, when we made it to the entrance to the woods there was this stream next to us. It was nice, I just want to sit down and read a book. I started to go deeper into the wood following the stream, the climate was surprisingly nice for a hot summer day. I found some pretty neat insects like stoneflies. I learnt a few things while I was in the woods and hopefully I will be able to remember it.
Before I joined Smokey House I alway thought jam was hard to make. I basically thought it was impossible due to the fact that I had to be a professional in order to make them. But making jam is now easier than what I anticipated. All it required was any fruit you like, pectin, and granulated sugar. First put any kind fruits you like in a sauce pan, bring it to a boil, then add the Pectin, bring the jam down to a simmer, and stir in the sugar. Next let the jam cool down for a minute, then pour the jam into the canning jars, put the jar lids on, screw them on fingertip tight and that’s it. Making jam was easy and the results were very good.
Since I’ve been working at Smokey House we have tried two different ways of baking with blueberries. One week we picked fresh blueberries right out of Smokey House’s blueberry patch, then we washed and prepared them to make blueberry muffins, they were delicious. The next week our group did a similar thing: we picked blueberries, cleaned them, and made blueberry quick bread. Our YAP group is doing all of these different things, so that on Wednesdays when it’s market day, we take the best and try it out to sell. Our blueberry muffins were good but they did not sell so great at the market. I wonder if it’s because we sit next to a booth that sells baked goods, but it could be anything. We just got established at the market, so our group is just going to keep bringing new ideas.
When I hear of invasive plants, I usually think of it taking over a certain area at a very rapid pace and creating a bit of a nuisance, like dandelions. But what i didn’t know was that there were some invasives that could do harm to the environment like knotweed, buckthorn, honeysuckle,and many more. One thing that the park’s invasive plants specialist said was that some of these invasives were ornamental, which means they were brought over to the US, planted, and then got out of control. Some of the invasive’s can choke out trees, especially the younger ones. Some can even grow in the city like Knotweed, which can grow though three inches of asphalt. Because I was able to to learn about these invasives, I will be able to take good care of the land I live on.
As the group goes into the second week of YAP, we have been discussing the farmers market, invasive plants, and how they effect the environment. For the second week our group went to a Vermont State Park to pull invasive plants like non-native honey suckle, buckthorn, knotweed and wall lettuce. For our first day at the farmers market we took a few things to sell. We had a pretty good day and made a larger profit then I thought we would.
Our group talked about how the environment was effected by invasive plants. When an invasive species like honey suckle and buckthorn starts to grow, they produce a berry that is not nutritious. The invasive plants have a way to disperse seeds over spread out land. Another bad effect that invasives have is that they choke out young saplings and displace native plants. When the native plants stop growing a whole chain reaction happens, just like a food web everything is effected in the end.
When we finished with invasive plant pulling, each person in the group got two free park entry tickets to any Vermont State Park. On Wednesdays we have market but it also is our longest day from 9:30am to 7:00pm . The group has multiple task to perform when market is done like reloading the van, driving back to the center, and putting everything away. The second week everyone all is ready in the swing of things, from doing simple things to hard dirty work. So far I am enjoying all of it from dirty work to crafts.