Ragtime Ranch Family Farm debuted our first farmer’s market today! Our local HEB grocery store hosts the River Valley Farmer’s Market every wednesday in front of the store. We finally had enough produce (even after selling to all our family and friends) that we felt like we were ready to venture out to the market with our goods.
It was actually quite intimidating – what if people didn’t buy our food, what if we didn’t look as good as the other growers, what if our food isn’t as good? In the end our fears were unfounded, and we did really well – it was an encouraging turnout for our first time.
It was really exhausting. We were there for almost four hours, kids and all. The kids did amazingly, and Mimi and Papa came also, so it really was a family farm.
Here is a picture of what we sold.
Farm Girl did an fantastic job of managing the table and selling the veggies. She wanted to talk to everybody who walked by, and was our most enthusiastic seller.
I hesitate to say it’s finished, but the greenhouse is “mostly” finished, and we’re using it! Couldn’t have done it all without Dad’s help (and his impressive tool collection).
The end walls and screens were really hard to put up. We’ve had wind in the 20-mph range consistently all month, which made it impossible to hang fabric on the frame. Finally we had a calm day, and we were able to attach the fabric to the end wall. The end wall fabric is a single sheet of white 40% shadecloth that we doubled over to make it two layers. My dad helped me build the doors and stretch the screens. The screens on the side walls are a single roll of 84″ wide aluminum screen. The screens and the end wall fabric are fastned to the walls first with staples to hold them in place, and then also with strips of lath to provide extra holding friction.
For washing and packaging fresh produce inside the greenhouse we bought a used stainless steel sink from AAA Food Equipment in Austin. Holy cow, that place has just about everything, in any condition from brand new to completely beat up. This sink will be our washing station for fresh greens. We still need to buy a metal table for packaging, but we’ll pick that up later when it becomes an issue.
Here’s a picture of the inside. We also bought those shelves at AAA. They’ll be used for microgreens. We have a wooden worktable, which you can see just to the left. The small house inside is our dry storage. It’s our old plastic mini-greenhouse. The big greenhouse is no shelter from the rain – the shadecloth just lets rain right through! The sides of the mini greenhouse can be zipped up to keep the insides dry when it rains. This is where we’ll store our supplies, seeds, and anything that needs to be kept dry.
We still have to run water and electricity (for the aquaponics) out there. But it’s serviceable and we started our first batch of microgreens yesterday!
Sometimes it seems like the bugs and the weeds are taking over, and the garden is just discouraging and not so lovely. But, I just remind myself that it’s only the beginning of our journey to get our land fertile and productive. Also, bugs and weeds are there because pesticides and weed killers are not. 🙂
Spending the whole morning picking and washing veggies makes it all worth it. We have been making deliveries to several businesses around Elgin as well as selling to family and friends. Sign up on our email list if you are interested!