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Farmers' Market

Saturday, December 03 2022

Collect monetary donations and purchase food products from farmers at the market.

*How to run the Farmer Food Share Booth at Watauga County Farmers' Market*

If you feel called upon to run the booth here are some things you need to know. Casting Bread shares the booth with two other local food banks – Hospitality House and the Health and Hunger Coalition. The schedule of who works when is set up in the spring and Casting Bread traditionally has the first Saturday of every month. The market is active from April until the last week in November and the new hours for 2022 are from 8AM until 1 PM. The three local food banks and the market and the farmers all work together to get fresh produce to people in need.

A) Set up around 7:30 and stay to help with the gleaning if at all possible and get the produce to the Pantry that afternoon or early the following week. We have a semipermanent space (#162) directly across from the market office (so near the corner of the L shaped venue). Our supplies are stored in the shed to the left behind the “office”. You need to get out the folding table (marked Hospitality House), the plastic box with supplies (table cloth and banner, black three ring binder, collection jars and various literature to pass out) and the big A-frame sign to go in front of the booth. Wear appropriate, comfortable clothing (Boone in the summer can be very cold or sunny or rainy) and bring a chair. It is a good idea to bring bags, boxes or baskets to store “produce” in. We do not have a tent or cover right now. There is coffee and breakfast items for sale in the market and one vendor sells luscious popsicles if it is really warm. There are acceptable Port-a Potties at the far side of the parking lot. Make the table as attractive as possible – I often buy a small bouquet or put out brightly colored produce along with the collection jar. The job needs two people but they both don’t necessarily need to be there the entire time. One might set up and the other stay until the gleaning is over. We have many patrons who walk up and throw cash in the jars every week but for others you have to engage their attention. You should stand up behind the table. I smile and say something to most people walking by but if you can, ask for a donation. I usually say, “Would you like to make a small donation to the local food banks? If they stop, be ready to answer questions about Farmer Food Share project (which supports local agriculture), about Casting Bread, about the gleaning run by The Society of St. Andrew and what happens to the money they donate. As soon as you accumulate some money, begin figuring out what to buy. One person may want to scope out what is for sale early on. Do not wait until the end of the market to spend money as some booths sell out early. One person stays with the booth and the other goes shopping. We try to buy produce that has some shelf life. Lately because eggs are difficult for the pantry to get, we have concentrated on buying them at the market. They are expensive (as is much of the produce there) but freshness counts and it doesn’t cost Casting Bread directly and you are supporting local agriculture. You may want to ask Sam or Diann if they want anything in particular. It a good idea to have their telephone numbers with you in case of emergencies. (Sam 303-990-3999/Diann 828-773-5609)

B) When you buy anything, note how much it costs and where you bought it. Vendors often have a sign above their booth. Bring the items back to our table and write information down on the reporting form (blank forms are found in the black binder). Note what you bought, amount or weight, and vendor by farm name. We usually bring in $200 or more.

C) Around 12:30 Ben Loomis or another representative from the Health and Hunger Coalition will come by with laundry baskets. Help distribute these to the various vendors. Start packing up the booth and stowing the items bought for transport. Leave the table and the binder for last. When the vendors have decided what to donate as gleaned items, pick up the baskets and weigh the produce, note what was given and the vendor. We report these results to the Society of ST. Andrew (see bottom half of reporting form). SOSA gives the farmers a letter at the end of the season so they can report how much they donated for that year. Put away table and help Ben get his produce to his car. Health and Hunger get this produce by prior arrangement. Go to Casting Bread and put away whatever you bought that morning.

8:00am - 1:00pm
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Contact the event organizer, Diann Miller