Here’s a new spot for the 2014 season – the Sharon Farmers Market at the Cresent Ridge Dairy (in Sharon, MA). We’ll be here every Saurday from 10 am – 2 pm, all the way till the end of October. We were looking to rework our popping schedule last year and tried a bunch of different farmers markets. We discovered this market at the end of the season and gave it a whirl for the last 3 weeks in October. It was a brand new market that started that year and we weren’t sure how well it would pan out. We did descent traffic for an end of the season market so we’re back this year to see what happens. At the moment it’s keeping pace with our Framingham location, and we’ve been there for 7 years. We’ve noticed a sort of sales curve for the season – our best week is usually the first week of August in all of our locations. If Sharon fits this curve, we should be doing pretty well later in the year.
The layout looks pretty good. It’s on a main road with good visibility. The Cresent Ridge Dairy has been selling ice cream from this location for years, so plenty of people naturally come here. Groups of people were still showing up at 2 o’clock to get ice cream when we started to break down. The owner agreed to sell some bags inside their store during the rest of the week, we ended up selling 2 of them before we left the parking lot because we were out of stock.
You’ll find some farmers markets tucked away in obscure spots and it’s totally up to the market manager to drive traffic. Many of these types of places can end up up doing poorly. The Sharon farmes market has a ton of things going for it. They also have a marketing team promoting the farmers market itself. Haven’t seen that anywhere else, so we’re impressed with the effort they’ve put into making it work.
In addition, you can pet some cows and goats out back. It’s a whole legit dairy farm operation so it’s kind of a neat place to explore, hang out and get some crazy yummy ice cream.
Again – boy do we love doggies! Fun event – good crowd. We did very well this year – so early in the year too. This is the same spot where we do our best business, the Sudbury Wayside Inn. Later in September we’ll be back for the colonial event. That’s when we go nuts!
It’s the start of our 2014 season! We speak to Vivian and Raquel, a pair of super fans who have been buying from us for years at the Framingham Farmers Market. The last few years this has been a very good event, but this years rain has been a major damper on attendance and profits.
We got a review on Kat’s Food Adventures blog! Woo hoo! I was talking with Kat about online marketing and crap at our tent at the Newton Farmers Market and learned that she’s basically a foodie blogger. I dunno – what’s more interesting, making kettle corn or doing online marketing? It’s kind of nice having someone make a video about me, since I’ve been making videos about my customers for years.
SPRINGFIELD—Walking into the Farmers’ Market at Forest Park on any given Tuesday this summer it’s hard not to notice a bright yellow tent protecting the delightful popping sounds and hard-to-miss smells of freshly made salty-sweet popcorn.
Velma’s Wicked Delicious Kettle Corn of Springfield, owned by Steve Cary, has been a fixture at the farmers’ market (including its previous location at the X in Springfield) for the past eight years. Steve along with his three children have been serving up hot, fresh kettle corn—and having a blast along the way. His wife, Kelly, a mental health nurse, pitches in when needed.
Steve’s banter with customers is as much a part of the experience as popping the corn. He will often have fun with children who come to the booth to order by first asking, “Did you eat your vegetables, clean your room, listen to your mother and during the school year do your homework?” He also likes to tell customers unfamiliar with kettle corn that it’s “free-range, organic, low-fat, boneless, dolphin-safe, fair-trade, gourmet, microbrew- and chardonnay-compatible kettle corn.” Photos by Jennifer Garutti.