Springfield starts again!
Well, here goes another year at the Springfield Farmer’s Market at the X. I look forward to this because we do well and Steve and I get to bang back a few beers and rummage through the liquor store with our loot later that night. We also buy dinner for Steve’s family with some of the loot and I get a chance to play his kids off of Steve’s parenting skills. (Me: “Hey kids, tell your dad it’s SAFER if you have your own cell phone.” Steves kids: “IT’S SAFER IF WE ALL HAVE OUR OWN CELL PHONES!” Note: Steve has 3 kids.)
So wow…we weren’t expecting this to happen. It’s a rule that the first day of the market is the slowest day. None of the veggie vendors are even here, so we’re only about at half capacity. This farmers market is one of the earliest ones in this area to get started. We were figuring we would make enough for the beer and food for tonight. The first half of the day with Velma was OK, but no great shakes. About what we were expecting. Steve tends to arrive after his teaching job around 3 o’clock and takes over from there. That’s when the kids and their parents arrived. We had a huge rush starting around 4 o’clock and didn’t stop till closing time and beyond. We’ve been in this spot for a few years now, so apparently we’ve created a nice, deep “groove” of addiction for this stuff. All of our repeat customers just started up where they left off from last year. This day would’ve been a record day in our first year there, but it wasn’t slow compared to anytime during last years market. We’re thinking, “if this is the FIRST day…we’re gonna get murdered with business as the year goes along.” We were still popping after all the other tents were packed up and had left. It’s kind of embarrassing.
To keep track of how much product we’re moving, we count the amount of empty oil containers that are accumulating. (Counting the money is kind of tough when it’s all small bills and a couple of people are making change at the same time.) Four oil containers are normally enough to pop (1) 50 lb. bag of popcorn. I think the most oil containers we’ve used in Springfield was 11. A normal day we use 9. Today we almost finished the 8th. We did pop a whole bunch extra to give away to friends and family though, so the sales weren’t as equal.
I’ve noticed a bunch of people who are getting into the kettle corn business read this blog. Here’s something we stole from a vendor down in Florida. Use a tall Tupperware container with a pour spout for storing and giving out samples. In the past we’ve poured samples from a scoop directly into the hands of our customers. It was kind of fumbly as we tried to get the kettlecorn into their hands without them touching the scoop. (The health department frowns on having the public put their mitts all over the serving utensils.) With the pour spout, you just gotta shake the kettle corn into their paws. I guess they were originally designed to hold a box of cereal.