Working at the Farmers Market
Main Street Farmers Market, Saint Paul University.
May : 21 June: 4, 18 July: 2, 16, 30 August: 13, 27
(Scroll down for product ingredient list)
Hey all :) So, as you might have heard through a few of my frantic tweets, I’ve taken up the challenge of trying to bake for a local farmer’s market. Its a great way to try out recipes and get honest feedback (haha children are especially honest…), meet new people, and challenge myself. I’ve learned so much about the properties of the flours I’ve been working with, how to put better flavours together, plan supplies, try to keep recipes consistent over multiple bakings (those chickpea chips can vary so much from batch to batch depending on heat, batter thickness, time on the griddle…. so much learning!).
One of the great ways is that on a good day, I get alot of smiles from people who appreciate treats that suit their restrictions, and others who are surpised that its good enough for ‘normal people’ too ;) . Plus, if it goes well, I can pay for my supplies. My goal is to be able to save up enough by the end of the summer to get myself a Vitamix and pay off some other expenses.
Being able to meet up with other local foodies and vendors is turning out to be pretty lovely- Ottawa is full of the nicest bunch of artisan producers and food enthusiasts… My newest buddies BJ from Take Charge Teas (artisan tea), Michael from Michaelsdolce (the most unusual jam flavours ever), Brad from b.goods bakery (killer gfree and vegan cookies), Joanna from Dolci bakeshop (fave gf desserts) , 5 Cupcakes (gf breads!), Hillary Duff (food blogger) and Kathy Smart (gf healthy living coach) … Its like a brand new community and we all have one thing in common. How much we loooove food.
Now, being the amateur baker that I am, I’m on a bit of a learning curve. Learning how to put up a vendor tent with enough time (and not to panic when its so hard… and to THANK lovely friends like Eliza for helping me!). Learning how to price things so that I can actually pay for supplies, pay for the failed recipe attempts, table rental, and have a bit left over for my hydro bill ;) . Plus, learning how to guess how much food to bring- the first time I waaay over baked. 5 dozen sandwich wraps? 5 dozen cupcakes? waaaay too much. lol.
Another thing I learned, was to listen to the customers. If one person says that they couldn’t see your signage, then chances are there were 20 others who thought the same thing, and walked by. Last time, it was very helpful- I got better price signage, better overall signage for the products and at eye level, and a display that got the customers over. What I learned this week- display the stuff that sells best, most prominently. My jars of muesli and granola were big ticket items (most expensive), but next time I won’t display so prominently. People want something quick and cheap- and my chickpea chips and dips sold best. They need to be the most noticeable.
Plus, savoury, savoury, savoury, and low cost. While I love making cupcakes, I make no profit on them. At all. While the granola is terrific, its very expensive (it cost a whack of cash to make). Dips and chips- less cost for everyone, so more sells. Plus, there are two other gluten free bakers at the market. So, next time, only a couple cupcakes, and focus on savoury snacks, with only a few tubs of granola. If it takes 3 hours to bake 24 cupcakes, its not a useful use of my time. Next time, way more dips, way more chickpea chips. Maybe jams or soup mixes in the future. (Do you have any suggestions? )
I’ve also had some kitchen mishaps (eep!). (and a new found respect for all pro bakers!!). I guess that comes with baking till 3 in the morning. Already I’ve managed to break (drop!) both my griddles, drop several glass containers on the floor, burn 30 bags of chickpea chips (that was 6 hours of work. Can you believe it?!) , burn 5 cups of sunflower seeds (eep $), Burn 5 cups of granola (double eep! cost!), baked 4 dozen sandwich wraps and froze them to find they soon fell apart and couldn’t be sold… and oh. Today I discovered that my muffins and cupcakes don’t freeze well… I was so proud of them, I baked in advance, and then today, I decided to sample some leftover at the end of the day. UM. holey smokes. They were so grainy and crumbly- I was horrified! People ate them! gah. Learning curve, right there. (and if you ate one, let me know and I’ll give you a better one when I go back!)
But, its not all hard stuff. There is so much fun, so much comraderie, there are so many wonderful people and great opportunities at the market. There is a genuine feeling of community. Its small, the vendors trade goodies with each other, and being out in the sunshine for the day meeting new people, learning about their food experiences, talking recipes… I can’t wait, can’t WAIT till the next Saturday market i go to June 4! (although I’ll need the next several days to recover and clean my tornado kitchen ;) )
So, If you happen to stop by when you’re out and about on a Saturday, come on by the Main Street Market. I’ll be there June: 4, 18 July: 2, 16, 30 August: 13, 27.
And seriously, if your chips are a little too crispy, or your cupcake crumbles, tell me!
Check out the stuff I’m making so far… more dips and savoury treats June 4 . :)
Below is an ingredient list for everything…oh! And another thing I learned. Make pretty labels for each product, not just for the display. (btw, sorry about wonky formatting, blog interface is in a bad mood today lol)
Strawberries, bananas, apple juice, agar powder, olive oil, vanilla bean, almond extract, apple cider vinegar, white rice flour, coconut sap, tapioca starch, almond meal, coconut flour, cocoa powder, baking powder (corn aluminum free, has potato starch), baking soda, sea salt, Coconut milk, agave nectar, cocoa powder, agar powder, vanilla bean, salt Strawberries, organic unhydrogenated palm oil, lemon juice, agave nectar, macadamia nut butter
NACHO CHIPS: (based on this recipe)
Chickpea flour, olive oil, water, salt
BLUEBERRY MUFFIN: (this recipe, with adapted proportions and some ingredient changes, see below)
bananas, coconut milk, agar powder, olive oil, vanilla bean, apple cider vinegar, white rice flour, coconut sap, tapioca starch, almond meal, coconut flour, blueberries, baking powder (corn aluminum free, has potato starch), baking soda, sea salt
GF GRANOLA: (new recipe, not posted)
GF oats, buckwheat, dried apple, currants, pumpkin seed, cranberry (apple juice), candied ginger( sugar), cinnamon, ginger, maple syrup, safflower oil, salt, chocolate (soy, dairy, nut free)
NUT FREE NUTELLA: (this recipe, with additional ingredients listed below)
Sunflower seeds, extra virgin olive oil, agave nectar, salt, dark cocoa powder, coconut sap
ROASTED RED PEPPER HUMMUS: (new recipe, based on this one with some changes)
Chickpeas, roasted red pepper, vinegar, tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt
BLACK BEAN DIP: (new recipe, not posted)
Black beans, green pepper, cilantro onion, olive oil, garlic, cumin, jalapeno, cider vinegar, lime juice, salt
RAW MUESLI: loosely based on this recipe. (Directions for eating- add 2 tbsp of the mix to 1/2 cup non dairy milk, soak overnight in the fridge, shake in the morning, or microwave 2 min).
Raisins, chia seed, raw buckwheat groats, hemp hearts, dried apple, raw pumpkin seed, raw sunflower seed, cranberry (sugar, sunflower oil), ginger, cinnamon, celtic sea salt, coconut sap
Come visit me! There’s always safe treats and eats :)
Want to make your own goodies? GF Cooking Workshop next Sunday!