In continuation of last weeks's Market Zone Part One post....
I beep the horn a few times as I pull away from the cooler shed, past Michael in the red truck. Two interns have already left to open the driveway at the hospital, and two youth farmers are following behind Michael to meet us there. A basket flies off the truck as I cruise down Game Farm Road, and I look back in the rearview mirror to see Michael pulling over and running out to grab it. Got my back. It's in, and we're off again.
Alex and a newer intern, Rebecca, are waiting under the Douglas Fir trees outside the Emergency Room. We park on the paved pathway, I slug some water, and we get to it. It's Rebecca's first market, and one of the youth managers has only done this a few times, so we give some guidance and instruction along the way. How to set up a canopy. "Raise the roof! Raise the roof!" Michael calls as we pull it out. Weights on the legs for the wind. Unload tote after tote after tote-- there must be thirty today, lined up along the pathway. Crates of strawberries, cherries, and tomatoes, too. Tables go up, crates upside down along the backside to raise the display, then table cloths and baskets. Now we can get creative.
I set up Rebecca to weigh out salad mix and spinach into half-pound bags while the others start setting out mounds of produce. Works well to have new people sit tight with a clear task until they can see what the final display looks like. They'll get many more chances to beautify the stand in future weeks.
I open up the tote of snap peas to pint them up for sale, and realize it's a hellish mix of snow, shelling, and snap peas from part of a bed that had mixed-up seeds. Awful. I call Ted to see if the tote back in the cooler is good, and he leaves it out for someone to pick up. Rebecca volunteers to go back for it, and I take over the salad mix for her. I rarely do this job, because I like to be in the thick of the display, guiding people and throwing my two cents in when they have questions. Use a basket for those little cauliflower heads, definitely. Hold back on the green onions so we can maybe save some for Saturday. Remember to leave room for the collards, or turnips, or garlic. Mostly I step back today, let the display take shape in everyone else's hands, and step back in once people start to get that wide-eyed look, walking in circles around the empty totes, wondering what to do.
Signs up, price tags up, rolls of bags hanging on bungees, cash box and iPad ready for business, oh gosh sort the tomatoes!, consolidate totes and get empty ones back in the truck, clean up, clean up, five minutes to two o'clock.
Rebecca's back and beaming as the stand comes together. "This is so amazing!" She's exclaiming. "It's so cool to see everything laid out together like this-- it's so beautiful!" And she's right. We're close enough, even though the trucks still need to be moved and the stacks of produce could be a bit higher and I have five more details in the back of my mind. I stop, take a look around, and let myself be dazzled by what we've created.