Thursday’s stand went well, especially in terms of our range of available produce and the number of families that we fed– approximately 75! We also had some of the first tomatoes of the season available this week, and they (unsurprisingly) sold very well.
This week’s experience was most similar to our professors’ descriptions of what the Markets at 10th and Pine have been like in years past, with a line forming as early as thirty minutes in advance, and with a slightly overwhelming initial rush of people. As our professors have told us before we began running the stands, it is during this initial rush that produce flies off of the tables– especially popular items like tomatoes and potatoes. This week definitely lived up to that expectation, since the more high-demand items, like green beans and tomatoes, were gone before the initial flood of people had even subsided. The only reason why we didn’t run out of other popular items, such as peppers and potatoes, was because we had received a very generous amount of both from Crayola’s farm in Forks, so we had enough to last us about halfway through the evening.
I worked on restocking the supply of tomatoes, carrying two pint-sized cartons to the table at a time. I was constantly restocking, and it was a brief job given how quickly the tomatoes were taken– it seemed that as soon as I replenished the tables with two more pint-sized cartons, two more were gone. While the fast consumption of our produce is certainly encouraging, the customers who came to the stand after the initial rush were discouraged by the fact that the more popular items had been taken in such a short span of time. These customers then decided that it would be better for them to come to the stand earlier, which is a bit stressful for the ViC team to hear about. Not only does such thinking point to the possibility that customers are treating our stand as if it is similar to a food pantry, but if more people think that they must come to the stand early to receive the most desirable produce, then it contributes to the initial rush, which can be overwhelming for us.
Some possible solutions that we have brainstormed about include replenishing the stocks of produce on the tables more strategically, so that high-demand items like tomatoes can stay on the tables for a longer period of time. We also talked about possibly labeling such items as having limited stock, and leaving an additional suggested donation amount for that particular item. We also are more determined to start the stand at exactly 5:30 next week, and not ten minutes earlier like this week.
In the weeks to come, we also plan on having an informational table set up– complete with a sign-up sheet for Easton Urban Farm volunteers, a poster providing information about LaFarm and the Urban Farm, and optional surveys for customers. We’re also looking to have a presence at 10th and Pine during Easton’s National Night Out by hosting a potluck. So, between getting an info table set up for next week, and having ourselves set up at 10th and Pine for two days out of the week, it will be a bit of a busier week for ViC, but definitely a productive and exciting one!