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# Farmers Markets Don't Just Happen

The Farmers Market Coalition is getting ready for National Farmers Markets Week in early August. Their theme this year is Farmers Markets Don’t Just Happen. They chose this theme because they hear so many vendors and market managers say this exact phrase so often.

Here are a few things you might not know from behind the scenes at the Coffee Creek Farmers Market:

Vendors take a lot of time figuring out their product sizes and packaging:

You may have noticed vendors making slight adjustments to the size of their product offerings, or to their packaging. For instance, last week at the market I learned about a new paper bag for Southlake Holistic’s Turkey Treats. They are resealable, which is better for you, and the price and logistics are better for the business.

Two kinds of packages from Southlake Holistics

We make a market map each week:

Every week we confirm the vendors and make a market map to help us with the market set up. Booths at the market are 10x10 feet. Some weeks there is more space between booths than other weeks. At around 1 PM on market days, you can find the manager measuring and chalking off spaces. When vendors come in, they take turns unloading vehicles, moving the cars to their parking spaces, and then setting up the booths. Each booth is designed by the vendor to help you see all of the goodness they have to offer!

An example of a market map, made with a whiteboard and magnetic vendor names.

Vendors prep to be outside for about 6 hours outside each market day:

We all bring sunscreen and water and ice on hot days, coats and hot tea on cold ones. We have extra shade, waterproof shoes, different layers of clothing, and tent adjustments depending on the day. On very hot days or on rainy ones, it’s nice to have the tents close to each other for more shelter!

Yaggy Road and Mitzner Meats always have a positive attitude. :). Plus the market tent.

Speaking of tents:

Did you know that our tents are strong enough to withstand high winds? We also have to weigh down each tent leg with at least 25 pounds of sand or water on each. Ratchet straps and bungee cords are our best friends, to hold our banners and to attach our tent tops to the weights. Tents are so much a part of the process that the Farmers Market Pros podcast is called “Tent Talk,” and the conference they put on each year is called “In Tents!” Get it (intense)?

Nick Albano cooking in a tent, with Bao's Pastry, Small Hands Homestead, and Lambstone Cellars Winery beyond.

Find us this week and every week at our Wednesday market at the Coffee Creek Watershed Preserve Pavilion parking lot, April 20-November 2, 2022, from 3-7 PM. Check us out on Facebook and Instagram, and sign up for our mailing list to get notified of all of the vendors' featured products each week.

Starting June 20, vote for the Coffee Creek Farmers Market as your favorite market and help us to win part of this year's $10,000 prize from American Farmland Trust and the Farmers Market Coalition! Click here to cast your vote for us and get a free No Farms No Food bumper sticker!

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