Saturday June 8th was my first foray into the farmer’s market. Thursday I found out that the Provo Farmer’s Market was full, so I started looking at other opportunities. The winner was the Daybreak Market in South Jordan, about 30 miles north of where I’m living. On Friday I heard back that I could go that very Saturday. That is when the chaos started. I had one day, closer to 12 hours to get everything ready. I needed to figure out my stand and what pies I’d be bringing. I elected to keep it simple and went with Key Lime Pie and Chocolate Cream. I bought all those ingredients, having to visit 4 stores. Not the start I wanted. It was already evening, and Uncle Ben came through clutch, letting me pick up two coolers and two tables to use for my display. I had to go to Salt Lake to pick up pie covers, and finally at 9:00 I was ready to start cooking. Except the kitchen I am renting messed up and couldn’t get me a key as the person over that was on vacation until Monday. So it was in my kitchen. Have you ever squeezed a key lime? They are small and much harder to squeeze. So I bought a well-made machine to help with that. And got to work on 150 limes. That took WAY longer than I imagined, and would not have been able to do it without the machine. In my haste, my hand slipped and while trying to cut a lime in half before putting it in the machine, I cut my index finger deep. Blood just started pouring out. But there was no stopping, I was committed to showing up. Although I had bought the materials, I had to scrap the chocolate pie idea, and go only with key lime. I made 15 crusts quickly. Their time in the oven took a while, but I could still keep 4 in at once, and it wasn’t too bad. And I mixed the filling ingredients four pies at a time. That said, 15 pies don’t fit in our fridge. I called a friend and ran some over to his place, and he kindly stored them for the night. I needed to print some of my permits I had received online so I literally ran to the BYU library, the only place to print open at 11 pm, and printed those off. But forgot to print my makeshift signs. I finished the pies, but couldn’t find half of the lids, that I had bought earlier that night. They had completely disappeared!! Finally, I gave up on finding the lids, and at 2 am, with a long list of things to do before the fair, I collapsed into bed. This was not going as I imagined.
As you can tell, I was frazzled, struggling much more than I ever imagined trying to get everything ready. So I forgot to set an alarm. For like the first time ever. I needed to be up at 6 am. Miraculously, I woke up at 6:45, after only 4.5 hours of sleep. I jumped up, said my morning prayer, and got to work. I needed to make the whipped cream topping, pick up the pies at my friends house, print out signs, get my handwashing station ready (necessary to legally serve samples), buy ice, pack the coolers, and leave my house at 7:10.
Did. Not. Happen. I somehow made it to the fair at 8:45, later than everyone else, but still before it officially opened. I throw my canopy tent up, set up the tables, and got ready to sell. Because the lids were missing, my makeshift attempt to transport did not go well, especially given my faster than normal driving speeds on my way there; the pies had shifted and fallen in the cooler. About half were not sellable.
The normal manager was out of town, and her replacement was not happy about my situation. She mentioned some rules I had no idea about, that the manager who I had talked to yesterday did not mention. She said I could not use cinderblocks to hold my canopy tent legs down, and I needed some sort of siding to legally serve food from the canopy. And a myriad of smaller issues. I said if I got a refund, I’d go home and make sure I was ready next time. She rejected that, and said she just hoped the Utah Food Safety Dept. wouldn’t be there.
I almost had to laugh. EVERYTHING went wrong. I didn’t even have a single sign. At my mother’s suggestion, I had prepared a vase of flowers to brighten up my table. They looked beautiful! And, they were knocked off to the ground by an old lady accidentally as she tried a sample. The square vase shattered, and the display was ruined.
I passed out nearly 100 samples. And sold three pies, for $10 each. But I made it to 1 pm, which was the time that the market closed. I just wanted to go home. Some of the other booths made over $1,000.
I closed shop, exhausted, with a giant mess on my hands still. The few pies that were still edible, I brought to my mission president, a friend who helped me get a job at BambooHR, and left two with Uncle Ben and family.
This is what President Young sent me later:
What a delightful surprise yesterday! Key Lime pie is one of my all-time favorite desserts.
I have had key lime pie in Key Lime, Florida and at the Dodo Restaurant here in Salt Lake City. Your Key lime pie ranks right up with the best. And it is sooooo creamy.
We love you and are so thankful for you!”
I was so thankful for this kind message and encouragement after such a trying day.
I saved the last pie for a triple date, on Sunday the 9th. Robert came with Hailey, and Hailey set me up with her roommate, Elisa. Robert’s roommate and his girlfriend joined us as well. Per tradition, we sang at the nursing home then returned to my place for the key lime pie. Everyone loved it. And I have to say, I’ve got the recipe down. It is delicious!
Monday the 10th, I started work at BambooHR. I was impressed by the product and how far the company has come, now over 450 employees, and no debt. They’ve managed their money well. Which is the right way to manage a company. But it is not the best for the employees. I felt underpaid, but was happy to have the job. I knew it was on the lower end of the market, but did not understand the commission structure until I arrived. And that made it worse. The other huge negative was my coworkers. There was almost no ambition. No one had dreams, but they were happy with where they were. I’ll leave it at that for now. The actual job was easy, and the environment very inviting. Everyone was very friendly and helpful.
After a week of full-time work, I had arrived at week 2 of the market, Saturday June 15th. This time I was in my commercial kitchen. But I still wasn’t well-prepared. I quickly made a large sign, bought some mini-pie tins in SLC, which was feedback I received the week before, and got to work. This time, also per some customer requests, I made apple pies. It took forever. Being the first time using the kitchen, I didn’t know beforehand that I needed to bring a lighter to light the oven. I thought about going to get one and returning, but it was already so late. So I stuck them in the convection ovens. This was a good idea, and they came out looking delicious! I made 3 full ones and 5 mini-ones. The price was higher, $15 for a full sized, and $4 for a mini. Even if I sold out, I’d still be losing money after travel, kitchen costs, booth costs, and ingredients. But I went.
Honestly, it went better. The crowd turnout was a lot smaller, and the rain that started drove the rest of the people off. Still, I almost sold out. And one person who bought a key lime pie came back and said that she used it for a dinner group, and it was declared the best pie they’ve ever had. And another person came by and said since trying the sample, all her son talked about was wanting to eat one of my key lime pies.
Nevertheless, I was exhausted. I had lost money. I had stayed up until two for a second straight week on Friday night, and I was discouraged. And I had a full-time job now.
So I bid adieu to Daybreak Farmer’s Market. Also known as, My Waterloo. I’d like to try in the Provo Farmer’s Market, and am angling for a spot starting August. Until then, I shall enjoy my Fridays and Saturdays. After enduring these two weeks, here is a song i wrote, from the heart, to be sung to the tune of “Home on the Range.”
“Oh give me a home, where the alliums grow,
and where everyone breathes garlic air.
Where the shallots are strong, all lined in a row
And the land yields cloves fat and fair.
Home, home on the farm….”
Here is one last occurrence from the week that was, to end on a higher note, no pun intended. On Thursday I attended an opera BYU put on, “The Elixir of Love” by Donizetti. It was fantastic! I have become a fan of opera, and love the emotions that were elicited. You had to still use your imagination and thing, and engage with the play and connect the dots. it was so different and so much more enjoyable than a movie. The theater was nearly empty, but one person that was there (completely unexpectedly) was my former roommate Jeremiah. I had not seen him since his departure from the Crestwood in January. I met his girlfriend and it was nice to catch up a little.
Here is one of my favorite scriptures, and one I’m basing a painting off of: (Doctrine +Covenants 43:34-35)
Hearken ye to these words. Behold, I am Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Treasure these things up in your hearts, and let the solemnities of eternity rest upon your minds. Be sober. Keep all my commandments. Even so. Amen.
Amen! Forget pie, and opera and whatever else. I rejoice because Christ lives! He is the Savior of the world. As we reflect on the eternal things of eternal worth, keeping the commandments will become easier and we will return to live with our Heavenly Father.