Yay! We’re back out in the tent for the start of the 2013 season! This Earth Day event started only recently, I think last year was its first time. We were skeptical it would work so early in the season, but it’s been busy every year for us. It’s almost like everyone is dying to get out of the house from the winter and get a good dose of fresh air. This location is the same spot where the Framingham Farmers Market is located, so we have bunches of returning customers who are excited to re-ignite their kettle corn fix.
Apparently many towns are into this “Earth Day” type of event. We’re doing one in Jamaica Plain in Boston on May 4th and I know of a few others. They wanted us to use paper bags to serve our kettle corn in, but we balked at this big time – many people take their bags home and our product will be ruined by the time they would have eaten it. Yup, we’re just like those giant conglomerates: save the Earth? But what about our PROFITS? I think if we also sold booze and guns we could’ve covered all the politically incorrect bases. Buy your Velma’s Single Malt Whiskey and Velma’s AR-15 ammo here today!
Jackie Menino, the market manager from the Framingham summer market went nuts and started an indoor winter market. It’s located at 24 Vernon Street, Framingham, MA. First thursday of every month during winter. March 7, April 4, May 2nd 2013. What’s cool is Jackie found a few of the vendors from our Newton Farmers Market video. We though we weren’t going to be doing much popping over the winter, but we’ve found a who series of winter markets and we’re approaching them now.
Hanson’s Farm has been next to us at the Framingham Farmers Market for years. We noticed that they host a haunted hayride during October and we wanted to try and sell some kettle corn to their customers. It would be kind of a “mutual destruction” type of thing, hopefully we both would benefit. We also wanted to see the what the actual farm was like.
The video above basically explains what was going on. Dan and I were able to take the tour and got to experience the whole she-bang. It was fun. Both of us are from a film and lighting background, so we were designing all sorts of enhanced layouts of the ride and agreed it would be fun to work on something like this. There was a descent enough crowd that night and we sold an OK amount of kettle corn. There’s never a crazy amount of people here because the event takes place over the course of a few weeks, so it really wasn’t as lucrative as we hoped. We just did this one experiment of popping for the night and had a great time doing it.
I’ve illustrated the power of kettle corn to influence people with my story on how I got a very colorful woman to dress all in black for a day just by wielding a bag of kettle corn. (This happened back in 2007 at our Springfield location.) I’ve been told I like to instigate things, or maybe I’m just an asshole in general. At our Framingham location, there is an artist who likes to paint landscapes and sells them at the market. I constantly ask him how the painting biz is going and he typically replies in the negative. I imagine there isn’t a lot of demand for original oil paintings at the farmers market. I thought I would “help”.
I asked him if he has ever painted on velvet. Never. I asked him how much would it cost to commission an original piece of artwork – a velvet Elvis. (Velma and I thrive on filling our house with tacky shit.) He said he doesn’t do portraits, only landscapes – no thanks. Fine. Since I was “commissioning” this artwork, I wanted the ultimate landscape. I wanted to see: a mountain with a waterfall and stream next to a cabin with deer in the foreground all leading to a beach with waves, palm trees, a boat, jumping dolphins and a setting moon. (I thought the black velvet would work nicely as a nighttime scene.) Oh yea, and throw in a UFO someplace.
I thought I had the perfect offer. I would pay to see this created, then I’d offer to put my painting on commission inside his tent, so if/when it sold he’d get paid TWICE. I was trying my damndest to get him to see my logic – if MY painting were to be the only one sold inside his tent, he’d have to completely reconsider his artist thrust. This could be where the money is! He didn’t see my logic and declined the entire proposition.
A week later he brings me “Velma Visits A Big Mountain”! (By Crofton Bergheister) A stunning piece of artwork done on a DKNY (size 12) velvet camisole. Certainly velvet doesn’t demand the slightest respect, and draping the “canvas” over another used canvas is definitely apropos. You’ll notice the eagle carrying away a sheep in the right corner with the little yellow splortch ON the mountain represents our tent. Bravo. Crofton got a free bag of kettle corn. Here’s what he had to say via a recent email:
The DKNY pelt for the painting was captured at the St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop in Framingham, Massachusetts, after a brief but dangerous struggle with that shop‚s sequestered (but not tamed) herd of miscellaneous fabrics.
Escaping from the fabrics, I ran headlong into the DKNY hanging in the Women‚s Tops section. A glance told me its velvety pelt was just right for “Velma Climbs a Big Mountain”, a painting I had envisaged years before.
The painting first crept into my creative endeavors in a dream, of a tall man incessantly urging me to ‘paint on velvet, paint on velvet.”
But until now, I never found quite the right taxidermy to express it. The capture was bloodless. This particular DKNY (blue tagged at 99 cents) might be of the velveteen species ˜ it was taken close to a much heavier, true velvet concoction that would have set me back $3.99, more ammunition than I wanted to expend.
Little known outside its native China, DKNYs usually reach American shores as stowaways in general cargo ships. Most are captured at the dock and incarcerated in high-end women‚s shops, destined to become the pets of wealthy patrons.
It is unknown how this little pelt came to the St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop. We‚ll never know whether its mistress grew tired of it and simply discarded it, or whether it was a (rejected) gift from an unwelcome admirer, or any of a hundred different grim scenarios. Fortunately, the DKNY is generally a placid animal and was not intent on revenge.
Certainly St. Vincent would not have had any direct contact with the original owner, as he hob-nobbed exclusively with those in poverty and distress.
If you’d like to pursue similar pelts (for not much gelt), Society of St. Vincent de Paul thrift store, 444 Franklin Street, Framingham, MA 01702, Phone: 508-879-7873, Hours Mon-Sat: 10am-6pm; Sunday: 11am-5pm
Off we go with another season at the Framingham Farmers market. We started in 2007 and I think this is our 6th year here. Where you are located is important in the kettle corn biz. This market is nestled up next to a Edgell Road in Framingham, a nice and busy road with tons of traffic. Because of some construction last year, we were on the other side of the town common and that bit into our customer traffic. This year we’re back on the busy side and already sales seems to have increased. One person remarked that they smelled us popping while they drove by and had to stop and get a bag.
I’ve got a new person helping me out – Dan Bridges. He’s an old friend of mine from way back when I used to work at the Norwood cable station, producing local origination programming for the town. He helped me produce my great artist folly “alt.sex”, an indie film that I wrote and directed back in the year 2000. He’s a real hot-shot sales guy who used to be the top appliance salesman for Sears. Because I’m moving my base of operations down to the Buzzards Bay area, we need to find new places to pop and he’s hammering at this big time. Beyond farmers markets, we’re looking to find a store front and start selling retail and online.