It’s hard to encapsulate 2020 in just a few words. It’s been such a whirlwind (even that word doesn’t do it justice). I can’t seem to find the right words to give any sort of meaning, consolation or dare I say, hope. I guess I just want to pass on a story that happened to us, which for me is keeping everything in perspective.

On the last farmers’ market of 2020 (we have a year-round market, so that’s the end of December for us), we were almost all set up about 5 minutes before the starting bell rings. Customers were already milling about and I was pricing wreaths at the last minute. I’m always doing something at the last minute. Our booth is located on the edge of the market right next to the parking lot. A customer was parking and something happened, we are still not sure what, and the car jumped over the parking barricade, right into our gang of tents. Vegetable racks were crushed—many vegetables went flying across the pavement.

The car slowed to a stop after pushing tables, racks, and crates up against three customers who were pinned against another rack. We first got the elderly woman out of her car, moved the car out of the mess, and took five minutes or so to get the people unpinned from all the rubble. Paramedics and the police department arrived.  After getting checked out, all three customers were shaken, but okay.

I had to tell the many onlookers and do-gooders that we were fine, but we needed about 30 minutes to clean up our booth and get set up again before we would be open for business. The police put up some caution tape after I had to ask some new arrivals to step out of the booth. A few neighbor vendors helped us clean up, despite my protests. Many customers just waited patiently the whole time. And, soon enough we were up and running again, even if my nerves were shot for the next week. The support and love that so many people expressed throughout the morning and over the next week via emails and messages, was a good reminder of what a wonderful and caring community we have.

While in the end no one was seriously injured, this was definitely the scariest incident—and there have been several—that has happened to me in 15 years of selling at farmers’ markets. I feel lucky that only one of my 3 kids was at the market that day and she wasn’t in front of that car, and that the customers were all okay. If that car had gone forward literally another foot or two there would have been broken legs or something much worse.  Also none of my wreaths or dried flowers were damaged as they were in the next tent over. Trivial, I know, but still a tiny bright spot.

This is not meant to be a warning or to scare anyone off from anything. Farmers’ markets are a great place to sell. Even through the pandemic, it has been our best sales outlet for almost 20 years. It is just a reminder that anything can happen. Anything. So be grateful for every day and every lesson that life brings. And it might not hurt to watch the four-part Risk Management series that ASCFG put together in December (in the Members Only section of the website, click on the Risk Management 101 tab).

In other news, I want to share some dried flower successes. We didn’t have as much time as I wanted this fall to make wreaths, but our dried flower stock was vast. So I decided to offer some curated dried flower boxes for shipping or local pickup. The work on my part was pretty easy for putting these together. I added an insert in the box on some different ideas of what to do with dried flowers; as well as where to find wreath bases and supplies; flower farmers friends’ online wreath classes, where I find inspiration for what to make; and tips and tricks to working with dried material. When I researched dried flower prices online, I realized I was not charging enough and I upped my prices to be more in line. Due to COVID I was already set up with a webstore, boxes, packaging, and shipping accounts, so it made this whole thing kind of seamless. I’m not going to retire off this venture, but it sure is some nice extra income when our production of fresh product is at the lowest point during the year. I know you all know already, but dried flowers are back.  I hope you are taking advantage of the trend.