Inside the Brain of a Market Manager on Market Day

Ever catch yourself daydreaming about being a farmers market manager? Think it would be fun visiting farms and chatting it up with customers on a sunny Saturday? We decided to take a closer look at what it’s really like. Special thanks to Beth Knorr, the market manager at Countryside Conservancy, who agreed to give us a first-hand glimpse. Read on at your own risk…

countryside sky4:45 am alarm. Ugh, this is too early for humans.

I forgot to put the coffee pot on last night. Again. I’ll wait until Howard gets there for my first cup. Who can eat this early? What kind of croissants is Sally bringing today?

Rain boots? Check. Fully charged phone? Check. Layered clothing? Check. Grab the tablecloths I had to wash earlier this week. Time to go. Shoot—almost forgot my tote bags.

It’s beautiful in the valley this early in the morning. I’m so lucky. Quiet and peaceful. Deer ahead—watch out!

At the office Beth H. and Jess can gather supplies: cash register, tokens for Debit and SNAP customers, vendor list for the day, market signs, cooking demo supplies, water cooler, t-shirts and tote bags, keys for the gate and barn. Is everything loaded? Hope we haven’t forgotten anything.

So beautiful here—a little fog over the meadow! Let’s unload the info booth tents and supplies. Here come Verna, Gary, and Tim—they’ll take over tent set-up, so let’s mark vendor spots with the turf paint and put their signs in the right spots. Huffman Fruit Farm and Jimmy’s Jam are here, so let’s hurry to get them squared away.

We have musicians, a demo chef, and a guest non-profit. Drive the truck around to unload tents and supplies for those booths. Ok—we’re all good.

Time to put up the rope so vendors can finish setting up before customers enter the market. Who’s ringing the cow bell today? Time to check off all the vendors that have arrived. Got a call from Rose Ridge—their cows got loose so they are running a few minutes late this morning. Have the volunteers watch for their arrival.

Did you see Morning Dew has Transparent apples today? And George at Morningside has gooseberries! Make sure to post that up on social media.

Bob’s here! Is the traffic officer here, too? Get the chef some money for the demo—any idea what she’s making? Make sure to get the recipe. Who’s counting customers today? Marilyn? Maddie? Perfect.

Go grab the other end of the rope—Ring the bell on my cue! And, they’re off!!

Anyone want to split a breakfast burrito? I’m starving.

Did anyone see how many people got off the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad train today?

Make a note we need to restock tote bags for next week. Have you noticed how grown up Bethany Baker is this year? I remember when she was Maggie’s age, and now she’s running the stand with her brothers!

And, it’s noon! Time to break down. Make sure the volunteers record their hours. What was our customer count today? 1875? Awesome. I bet we’ll break our record this year.

That’s the last of the tents, so let’s finish loading up. Are we waiting on any other vendors to turn in their fees? Let’s head back to the office and wash the dishes and reconcile.

Phew! What a day.

It’s still Farmers Market season, so check out our list of markets in the region and find one near you to visit this week. It’s a great way to eat locally and seasonally. And if you see your market’s manager—be sure to thank them.