Posted on June 18 2012

Whisk Bakeshop at the Farmers’ Market

Our Saturday day at the Farmers’ Market was a lot of fun, and the preparation this time was less stressful.  Having one under my belt made things that much more easier to navigate, and me less prone to crying at three in the morning the night before as I sleepily thought I was ruining everything.  So yeah, this time I didn’t cry at all.  So there’s that.  In tracking how things are going, I just may track the level of my personal freak outs.  From my first market to the second, I’ve improved Freak Outs by 300%.  Pretty impressive, I dare say.  While already going through it once was a huge part of that, my friend Krystal is with me now baking.  So that is amazing, and so very helpful.  And also, my dear friend Anne comes bright and early to the booth to help with sales.  She’s a gem and knows every single person in Kalamazoo, so people head over to say hello to her, then buy something.  That’s smart business, right there.

I had grand plans for our menu sign for this go round.  The salvaged plywood we found had some texture to it, of course, so it made drawing on it with chalk difficult.  As you can see, croissants were the biggest hit.  We made even more this time, and they sold out even quicker than my first market, in just an hour and a half.  As patrons came to the booth I recognized some familiar faces who kindly let me know they look for my booth every Saturday, on the hunt for my croissants.  One woman said she comes a bit earlier to the market, knowing there’s a chance that I may not be there, but she wants to be able to snag couple croissants because all she was able to get was a sample the time before.  I love hearing that.

A lot of people asked about other things I bake as well, namely brioche.  I excitedly told them how much I love baking it, and that I’d have it the next time.  We also introduced special orders, and eagerly handed out our cards to interested folks.  Or, watched as a guy grabbed a dozen of them after trying a few samples, promising over and over he was going to give us business.  Okay.  At the first market, a man told us a lovely story about how he’s on the hunt for a perfect plain scone because that’s how his mother made them in England growing up.  I took that as a challenge and made a batch, hoping he’d return.  Both he and his wife did, and before looking at the menu he looked at the sample of currant scones and lamented how he cannot find a plain one!  I told him I listened and made a batch especially for him.  He bought a few, and then wrote me the kindest email on Sunday explaining in detail about how delicious they were and just how he enjoyed each one – with coffee that morning, another in the afternoon with tea.  So moved that he took the time to let me know how much he enjoyed them!

I just had such a wonderful experience, even though we were completely sleep deprived and I was saying crazy things like, “I’m sweating,” to someone as I handed them a bag of chocolate truffles they had just purchased from me.  (At least I knew her.)  One woman just stood back and commented over and over how lovely our booth looked.  I did pay a lot of attention to the look of the booth, how we handed goods over to people in paper rather than wrapped in plastic wrap, having a clean and simple table setup, etc.  So when people complimented us on the logo I drew by hand, or the way they’d never seen a booth that looked like this one, it really meant so much.  And that’s when I actually wanted to cry, which is better than crying while baking things.

  1. NicoleD says:

    I’m so happy for you! Sounds like the 2nd time is the charm for you :) Everything does look lovely!

  2. Michelle Hagewood says:

    Beautiful write up, Emily…I felt as if I was there. Will have to try these world famous (or Kalamazoo famous!) croissants some time! I recall making them from scratch once in my life (I think I was 14 and making them for the Berrien County Youth Fair)…sounds like you are already making a name for yourself! So glad for you!!!

  3. Lindsey says:

    Love!

  4. Amanda Jane Jones says:

    Looks amazing! Wish we could stop by!

  5. Calantha says:

    First off, congratulations! I loved reading this post and I was nodding my head in agreement with absolutely everything you wrote. I just opened my first farmers’ market stall (baking artisanal bread: www.elorabreadtradingcompany.com) and have had to navigate through that exact experience. Don’t even get me started on the number of loaves I have tossed because I just couldn’t bear to sell them to people – thinking that I, too, was ruining everything. One of the things I’ve learned is it’s best to walk away and come back (if you have time) before making rash decisions. We usually bake 8pm – 6am and then hit the market for 8:30am. Our first run we hadn’t even managed an hours worth of sleep… we don’t even know what we said to people!

    Your booth also looks a lot like ours – blue tablecloth, chalkboard sign (that I made myself out of an old kitchen cupboard door and I too experience the difficulty with writing with chalk on an old piece of wood!). Clean crisp business cards and paper bags. We initially wanted to put our logo on the bags, but weren’t sure how to go about doing it and whether it was worth the cost. Do you have yours printed? We contemplated getting a stamp made so we could stamp them ourselves.

    But really, despite the freak outs and the sleep deprivation, isn’t it totally worth it when you sell out and have people tell you much they love your stuff and how they seek you out specifically? I’m floored every time I hear it.

    All the best at future markets :)

  6. Katherine Ross says:

    So glad to hear you’re getting the hang of it all! I have yet to have an open Saturday to make the trip over, but I’m dying to try one of your chocolate croissants! The zucchini orange marmalade tea cake sounds pretty great, too.

  7. Mary says:

    Em, your booth seriously looks so good! I’m going to send my parents to the market to try some of your delights next time! K-zoo is lucky to have you! xo

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