Well, the past few 2weeks has been a wild ride! I shift between being elated and overwhelmed with anxiety.
The sprouts have been selling well at the market. I do 2 markets each week – Wednesday and Saturday. The Wednesday market has been inconsistent so it is hard to determine production levels for that market. Last week it rained, which really kept people away. The Wednesday market is a new one so it does not yet have the following and dedication that the Saturday market does. I think my bag sales over the past 3 weeks were 32, 54, then 24. So who knows what to expect this week. I have a big harvest planned for Tuesday, so here’s hoping for good weather and happy customers!
The Saturday market just keeps getting better. Last week I sold over 110 bags and harvested my display trays when I ran out. I amalso getting a lot of repeat customers who tell me they love the sprouts. That has taken a lot of the stress away as I am constantly fretting over sprout quality.
I am loving getting all my gear loaded up to take to the market on my bike. This Saturday I had three coolers and 5 trays, so it was a real show! It is a blast crossing some of the busiore streets and seeing how people in their cars react to this big bunch of sprouts going by on a bicycle!
On the production side things have been up and down as well, though are now quite smooth. The weather plays a huge role in sprout quality and size, so it is hard to know what i am going to get each week. even though the cooler weather results in a smaller sprout, they are of better quality (more tender). I really keep an eye on the forecast and can shift my production one day if need be. As the summer goes on, I may add a day to production to ensure I get enough growth each week.
I had a bit of growth problem one week and realized it was that I did not have any drainage on the additonal bench section I added to production. Once teh drainage was in, groweth seemed to normalize. However, one batch alsways seems to do better than the other.
Another challenge has been dealing with keeping things clean as we harvest. The system is getting pretty good, but it is hard to keep things off the ground. Any thing that hits the ground has to be sanitized and cleaned – so it is a hassle. Tonight I build two small tables to put supplies and coolers so we can keep things off the ground and clean.
We have also revolutionized sprout harvesting! Instead of using scissors I am now harvesting sprouts with a machete! One foul swoop and the whole tray (well, most of the tray) is harvested instantly. Here is a video for your viewing pleasure!
After a few weeks with the machete my technique us getting pretty good and we get a much more consistent and clean harvest. We do lose some sprouts on the machete follow through, but the time gained is worth the loss of sprouts.
So this will be another big week of harvesting ansd then I am taking next week off to go camping adn to a music festival. I am looking forward to the break, though am a bit nervous about losing the production. But I think it will be worth it!
More soon, including a video of me on my bike heading to market and the production area as we work.