Gather Together. Organically.
Written by: Clay Raphael, Rising Junior at Franklin High School
Vendor: Gathering Together Farm
Working with Gathering Together Farm for the past seven weeks has changed the way I think about food. In the past, I didn’t differentiate between buying produce at the grocery store and buying produce at a Farmers Market. This experience has changed my mind. Every Wednesday from 2-7pm, I can clearly see how much effort goes into setting up, running and taking down a local Farmers Market. This hard work pays off with a higher profit after every sale than the profit given at a grocery store. Located in Philomath, OR, an hour south of the Moreland market and the only organic produce vendor at the market, Gathering Together Farm gets the job done.
This past week was chaotic, confusing and stressful, but in the end, manageable and exciting. The farm’s truck broke down nearly twenty minutes south of Portland. This required a shift of the pallets to a different truck, a new driver and less time to set up once the truck arrived… 40 minutes late. Since we were running late, the market staff changed our location to the opposite corner with three tents, instead of six like usual. It was challenging to display all of our produce in the space given. Once the market bell rung at 2:00, customers started pouring in, all asking “Is this Gathering Together Farm?” due to our location shift for the day. Some were even afraid that we were no longer part of the market because we were not in our usual space. They were relieved when they saw our farm stand sign, hanging with pride.
Throughout the day, I mostly ran the cashier position: swiping cards, collecting money and giving change. During the first week, I had trouble at this position; I didn’t know any of the prices! After the second and third weeks, I was an expert. $3.00 for a bunch of organic kale, $3.50 for a pound of organic cucumbers, $4.00 per pound of organic heirloom tomatoes (Please note: Everything is organic!). It's still a bit nerve racking when someone comes up to checkout with bags full of berries and veggies, but after thought and calculations, I have a result and the purchase is complete. It was finally 7:00 after what felt like a much longer day than usual. It was time to take down and check inventory. Besides the issue with the truck, the rest of this market finished smoothly!
If you find yourself wandering around the Moreland Farmers Market on a sunny Wednesday afternoon, be sure to stop by Gathering Together. First, check out the sampling table to sample some freshly cut produce or a selection of cooked vegetables, like fava beans, fennel or eggplant. If you’ve got a one, five, ten, twenty, fifty or even one hundred dollar bill in your pocket waiting to be spent, I recommend purchasing our delicious boysenberries or blueberries, shiny corn (watch for the 6/$5 deal!), beautiful lettuce, juicy tomatoes (our best seller!), leafy kale or shiny orange carrots; don’t forget to enjoy the massive selection or amazing taste, while supporting the farm at the same time. If it’s the best produce you've ever had, or even if not, check out the gourmet restaurant on the farm in Philomath! There, you can gather together, organically.