For the first time in four years of running the blueberry farm I helped to sell berries at the farmer's market. With everyone else in school, our family's blueberry crew has dwindled to Betsy and I for the past two weeks. Rather than open the farm for you-pick customers, I set my alarm for 4:50 a.m. and Betsy and I hauled eighty quarts of berries to the market.
It was still dark outside at quarter to six as Betsy arranged blueberries on the table while Sam, a fellow vendor, stacked quarts of yellow and green beans. Later in the morning Sam's wife arrived and spent the morning selling green and yellow beans, sweet corn and flowers.
After setting up tables, arranging blueberries and hanging signs, Betsy and I took a breakfast break before the market opened. I sipped raspberry tea while Betsy enjoyed a mug of hot chocolate. When the wind picked up later in the morning we plugged in the electric tea kettle for a cup of hot chocolate to help warm ourselves.
The only people in the market at six-thirty were sleepy-eyed vendors, some who had driven over an hour. The minutes between finishing setting up one's wares and when customers arrive are the time vendors walk the circle to chat with friends and check prices.
The sun arrived with the first customers, Wednesday morning. The market runs from seven until noon on Wednesday and Saturday mornings May through October.
For a few minutes the sky was blue and pink with the sunrise. As the morning went on, it seemed to get cooler instead of warmer, even though the sun was up. By the middle of the morning I had layered my hooded sweatshirt, a zippered sweater and a fleece jacket.
It was a slow market, even at eleven o'clock the walkways weren't crowded. Saturdays are always busier and often there are so many people you have to dodge elbows and slip around strollers.
An hour before market ended, I retreated to the cab of the truck to warm up. Betsy sat on the tailgate as she waited for customers. A pile of empty quarts sits in the backseat, ready to be refilled with berries. We did okay for a Wednesday, though we didn't sell all of our berries. We brought sixteen quarts home to put in the freezer.