Julia Howard is here to talk a bit about the Farmer’s Market process. She’s the Market Manager of the Saratoga Farmer’s Market.
Now do you have your own farm?
I have a very humble plot, we live just outside of Saratoga but we are in a rental home…
I grew up 100% my mom gardened and grew everything that we ate. I think I’m a little bit spoiled working at the farmer’s market, because I pretty much get showered with produce. Every time a vender has something they haven’t sold or says here’s have a cabbage.
If I weren’t at the market, I’d certainly be an avid gardener. We have grapes and pears and run an herb garden and a big crop of tomatoes!
That’s pretty big in a rental property!
It is I’m pretty proud, it’s very sandy here… soil mending… pretty much how I eat.
But growing up it was all about the garden. My mom was always cooking. We lived in the Adirondacks.. she was canning, pickling
kept me in touch with that… went off to college. I was always really appreciative of all the hard work she did and to know where our food came from. Later in life I was working a very monotonous typical 9-5 and I just felt broke so I left that job to work on a berry farm.
outside of the Albany NY area
farmer was involved in the farmer’s market
I loved it that experience. I don’t know if it was from coming from a desk job to kneeling in the dirt. Strawberries are no easy job, it’s not an easy crop to grow or harvest. It’s a lot of time on your knees and bending over. I still love that farm and connected to that farm. My baby girl eats those berries in the summer and she eats them all year and we freeze them.
My official introduction of Julia comes here!
I’ve been thinking about having some kind of market challenge like maybe pick one product to take to the market. I’ve had a lot of guests approach the market manager and find out what the market needs, David Wolvertine said we need tomatoes and you have to do something about the price of tomatoes.
That’s a big thing in Farmer’s Markets and you want to make sure there’s
not everyone is a natural sales person
it’s hard to stand behind a table that maybe 6 or 7 other people have. What makes it different? How to make it appealing to the customer base.
Another thing David told me that surprised me is a Farmer’s Market is not a market with only one vendor and he talked about the challenge of sitting on the board of his market, having enough vendors so people want to come. NAomi has done a good job here, getting some music, it was a struggle in the beginning. Another guest Joyce Pinson talked about sampling and how she could sell zuccinis for a good price all summer long while the person next to her couldn’t give them away.
a lot to that
It was growing up literally in dirt, weeding, understanding the growth cycles in plants
that entire experience
being in it as a child
there have been long periods where I didn’t grow a thing. I had some house plants in a window. Didn’t have access. Didn’t have the motivation, it’s an education that never left me. It’s always been with me. Mom did right..
Let me give a little bit of a background, every farmers market is different. Every town is different, so every need is different for local agriculture.
Our farmer’s market was founded in 1978. We’ve been running a really long time. It started out just a couple of farmers in a parking lot. Very humble beginnings. Currently we host a year round markets. In the winter time we host 40 vendors Nov-April housed indoors. Then we move to an outdoor location every park from may to oct we have about 60 vendors.
Our market has a history of growth. The pun is intended. Every year it changes. We really rely on our customers and community and we are a cooperative. We all work together to make the best it can be! It’s not an easy beat. Every year we deal with the challenges that come up an every year we grow.
In recent years, there are recent statistics on a decline in farmer’s markets, most markets are down 20-70%! So this is a national study. Some farmers, specifically at the Saratoga market, said we see there’s a transition who’s coming. We have a lot of women in the age group from 50-65.
If there’s a season we have a horse racing season in August where a lot of locals leave, most people leave. When most markets are picking up ours dips in sales. So there’s a difference in who’s buying what and when.
avon has asked if they can see products
make us stand aside from other markets
We have a very strict percentage of agriculture, predominantly and ag market we have to ave a ratio 70% ag and 30% everything else
Everything else is
if they have goats on their properties making the cheese agriculture
So we have a pretty set standard
oh my goodness this is awesome
we have so many farms growing under high tunnels so we have fresh produce comeing out of the ground all year
high canvas tunnel similar to a greenhouse
hydroponic farm fresh tomatoes
3 main farms that are vending at our winter market have high tunnels and the hydroponic grower.
growing outside of a climate zone where do
We are in the North East. We are considered upstate. Albany is the capital towards the east but central. We are about an hour further north.
Yeah, today is kind of a fluke! we’re gonna have a 60º in February!. There’s a couple of feet on the ground. It’s been about30ºs during the day. We’re gonna have a couple of really warm days.
not a bad thing
fresh greens at the market
because it’s still been overcast everything has been really slow
got it really…
Let’s talk about that! At our market specifically. We accept applications 2xs a year by season. You either apply for summer easiness or winter season. We try to make it as simple as possible. The application is online. They pay a processing fee of $25. It’s approved by a board.
Our Market is run by 12 farmers and business owners. We’re proud to still be our own entity, not the government or community but the business owners are running the market.
a little bit goes into that
It depends on what someone is applying to sell. Let’s say we need honey. So a dairy or honey vendor apply. They pay one flat rate for their stall. It’s for the whole season
market get’s crazy paying for week to week
trying to do best of our customers
messing where someone’s farm is placed
Right now our winter location
Saratoga Springs is really known for water and natural springs
We are in a state park in Saratoga in an historic bath house. We are now the park head quarters. We are in a long grecian building. It’s the 3rd year at this location for the winter. IT’s a great venue and it’s perfect for the winter. We pay a good chunk to the state of NY to be there. But there’s plenty of parking
We do have a permanent home for our summer market. We are in a park in downtown Saratoga, close to main drag eateries not
right int he middle of things
connected to the city
someone walking around
farmer’s market open today
beautiful park in the summer time
head ache for me
access to electricity
ability to expand
approve their products to
Once you’re in your’e in….
even if you don’t buy anything
what is a kholorabi? how does that grow?
not just a consumer as much as a consumer experience.
Part of my job – the entire farmers market operations is my job.
When it comes to a farmer who sets up a little table, I actually did that with a meat vendor and meat is hard to display but some vendors are not always gorgeous produce. Sometimes someone’s hauling...