Real Foods Markets
My name is Ella and my family and I are growing a market garden at Eastward. Every Tuesday, Mum and I go to the Real Foods Market in Port Macquarie. As I write, I am sitting at the market watching people come and go and buy and sell.
We arrive at the markets at about 11:30am, and sometimes people are waiting to buy from us before we have even had time to set up! The first few hours are very busy, with lots of fresh garden produce being unloaded from the van and sold. Things quiet down after that.
The markets are located in an area that has a lot of people are walking by, so there are always new faces at our stall. We are also getting quite a few return customers which is good for business, and better still we can make friends with them.
Serving the customers is fun. We use the app Square Register on our iPad which makes me feel like a real shopkeeper! I enter the items that the customer has selected and then give them a total amount. It’s sometimes confusing when three or four people are getting veggies and I'm trying to get the right change for them, or Mum and I are trying to use the same iPad.
Right now we are selling cabbage, silverbeet, spinach, kale, lettuce, broccoli, beetroot, peas, cauliflower, tatsoi, spring onions, potatoes and rhubarb. We also sell my 10 year old brother Jack’s homemade peanut butter, and eggs from my business Cackleberry Castle.
The veggies are harvested fresh from our garden either the night before, or the morning of the markets. During the week, Dad, my siblings and I work hard planting, weeding, watering, and tending the plants to help them grow.
Dad has recently finished building a seedling-house for his seeds and seedlings, and the whole garden has just been redesigned and the beds standardised which will help us be more efficient. The aim is to double the size and production of the garden by the end of spring. This will be a big job because it is already spring. We are busy every day now with the spring planting, and in the evenings Dad and Mum plan what to plant and how much of it to plant to supply the customer demand.
Out of all the winter veggies we have sold, the people seem to like broccoli and peas the best. We almost always sell out of these. Every week, our total income from the markets is growing and we are picking and selling more and more veggies. Tuesday evenings, Mum, Dad and I sit around the table and count the money. We have to take out the market stall fee, pay Jack for his peanut butter and I take out money for my eggs. Then we total up the day’s sales!
It is exciting to find out how many people bought our fresh produce and how much money we were able to make. This money goes back into the Farm Account to help fund a bigger and better garden. Dad is hoping that one day there will be enough saved up so that he can buy a walk-behind tractor to use in the garden. Mum and I just want a second iPad so that we can serve two customers at once!
Even though sometimes I get bored at the markets when there is not much business, I do enjoy it. If you’re ever near the Glasshouse in Port Macquarie on a Tuesday afternoon between 12:30pm and 5:30pm, come down and have a look! We would love to see you there.