evolution of a farm booth

I was looking at some old photos and started to see a trend of bigger to smaller. More to Less. Lots of product to little... and vice versa as the year unfolds. It never stays the same.  It might be because of the sheer enormity of time and space constraints, on what it takes to get to a market to sell my wares with what is going on at the farm. births. deaths. kids. I really don't think people truly understand how much work it is to go mobile, set up shop, work it, have items, and then break it all down at the end of the day.  In the beginning, all I had were a few eggs, some milk, and soap. As the years continue I've added, honey, kefir, art bags, wreaths, feta in jars, milking demonstrations, kids, chicks, hens,  etc.

This is how it started and has progressed in the last 5 years.....
I started out with one table, no shade, and brought a goat to keep me company. Note: bring doe's not bucklings as they pee on people too much. Pierce here should have been in a pen but he behaved on leash.

Then of course the booth would get bigger. I would bring animals to show off. And goats to milk. and the trailer to haul them in. And pens to set them up in... And I would bring hens and roosters. And would do my darndest to make him crow. He never did. But he loved to make a mess.

I like to go to events where I can set up right where parked. That is awesome. They do that up North. Not so much down here. Then you just pack up and leave, rather then haul in haul out. need a cart. drag. carry. Back breaking. Leave the coolers in the truck and you're golden.

I would have 5-6 hours of market time. So, i can't just milk one goat. I would bring 3 or 4 so that I could milk them once an hour. Educate. And show people just how cool it is to get fresh milk.

Sometimes my tables are just filled with stuff to sell. Sometimes not even my own. Books for sale that the author sent me. Soaps from friends. Honey. Wax.  You name it, I'll try to help friends out and sell it.

At times even co-sharing a tent with a fellow friend and soap maker. It rained this particular day and made things interesting. The last thing needed is water when selling soap. And if goats in tow? oh wow.... Where to put them when a down pour starts. One year luckily they had a car port and i needed some help but we made it to the carport before the lightening started. I lost all product that day.

It's difficult to move the goats for the day. They need water (their water from home yes, prima donnas) feed, hay, then all the milking equipment, and pails, buckets, hand sanitizers and clean up material for when the day is over and goat pellets are everywhere. They need shade, or another tent. Which entails more set up and weights for when its windy. The pen below is hog panels cut up and just clips keeping it in place.

If really lucky my neighbors come help me. Patty (pictured below). She is a grandma now. Guess what she likes to do on weekends.

If feeling a bit radical, I'll have milk and cheese tastings. Add to the list plates and disposal items.. But to get all that to a market -- needs coolers. Lots of them.  Heavy, bulky, filled with ice well packed milk so it would stay cold.

If there is no milk to bring then selling art cards, note cards, wreaths, hand bags, soap, honey, eggs. Things that are not as perishable as milk and cheese.

This is when the booth is at its best. When fresh eggs, cheese, kefir, honey, and milk are in bounty. And rarely all at the same time. Things change as the season and lactation and weather changes. Timing is critical and you can't always know what mother nature has in mind. The chickens went on strike last year right at the height of milk production. What the heck?

Each time I go to an event the booth changes. Love that ! Its go with the flow of what is available. Yes, a business but not one that has same product each time.

And of course... when I can bring kids the products in booth gets smaller. kids are just like the full size does, they need lots of stuff to take them off the farm for the day. Bottles, nipples. extra milk. coolers. feed. hay. Bringing kids bring lots of people to the booth. But harder to sell when you're making sure the kids are happy. note to self: have a #delilahsdairy sign for picture taking and tagging you later. I love to see photos that people took when visiting the booth.

This  of course is my favorite set up. Everything fits in one trunk. No milk or cheese to bring. Set up in 10 minutes. break down easy. and we're off. Of course, its also my favorite since its only 3 hours, at another farm, with good food and drink. #swanktable events. ( check them out www.swankspecialtyproduce.com)

Going to market is exhausting. Truly. Back breaking. It does take a full day to get the farm back in order. Me to recover.  Animals thrive on routine. Take them out of their element, and all sorts of things can happen. Milk production gets thrown off when you milk them middle of the day. Boy, can they get cranky, they are always milked at 8 am. Plus, the 2 or 3 days before an event,  you're washing and cleaning, trimming hooves, shaving udders,  so that people see the best representation of your animals. If they are sick you can't bring them, too thin? etc.  I sit there the morning of event, look over all and see who is happy, mad, looks awful, looks off, looks great, loving, not interested, cranky, then choose based on who gets along with whom, not all goats get along and in tight quarters? omygosh.

Yeah! this last photo is my favorite. :)

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