So… the first market day at ALMH Market was May 12th. It was my first day doing a market in Lincoln and I had no idea what to expect. What I knew? There was a bread lady, a cheese guy, a smoothie lady and a ton of farmers who seemed to know so much more about farming than me. That morning I loaded the truck. I had the beginning stages of Addie’s Pepper Patch products, some beautiful perennial flower plants and herb plants. Mother Nature ensured I had no fresh produce… I arrived at the fairgrounds at about 5:30 and waited for the market manager to arrive so I could set up for the morning. I had no idea what to expect… I think I said a small prayer on my drive in, hoping… just hoping.
So… this Saturday will be my 21st time at ALMH Market. Thompson Family Farm has been there every Saturday since the market started this year. I’ve had the pleasure of vending beside “the bread lady” for the second half of the market. Her breads and treats are amazing. I’ve enjoyed the cheese from the cheese guy on many occasions. The smoothies have been refreshing on the hot summer days. I’ve been lucky enough to sample and enjoy some of the best produce Illinois farmers can grow… but more than that, I’ve made some amazing friendships…. With fellow vendors, customers, market volunteers and our AMAZING market manager.
Knowing this year’s market is coming to an end this Saturday is sooooooooo bitter sweet. I’ve had a better summer than I could ever have expected. I learned so much about farming, about vending at farmers’ markets and being the face of our farm. I will never have the words to express how much I appreciate everyone who has been a part of my ALMH Market journey. You all have made me realize I made the right choice in walking away from corporate work and making the decision to farm was the right choice for me… it is the hardest job I’ve ever had and I love it more than anything. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’ll see you in May of next year.
So… having a farm based business is interesting. The question I get asked more than anything is: Do you pay sales tax? And this is often followed by comments along the lines of suggesting my farm business is a hobby… which makes me wonder why. At every market or farm stand I set up – I am a single, middle-aged woman standing in front of a sign that reads “Thompson Family Farm” and I offer stuff for sale… produce and a whole host of pepper-related products that are not only made by me, the recipes are mine as well. I have always been a “fly by the seat of my pants” cook. I just finally took the time to write things down so I have consistency in my products.
This is one of the millions of reason I don't use chemicals on my farm... this, right here. We have done such a good job of destroying our eco system and I'm hellbent on doing what I can to fix it.