The forecast for Sunday was an 80% chance of showers, but the morning was blue skies and white clouds. Things were looking hopeful, even though there was a brief downpour around 8 am. The entire day was sunny and clear. That is, until 2 PM, about an hour before I was planning on heading over to the festival site to set up.
The rain was coming down in sheets but the car was already loaded up with jam, so we headed out. My husband claimed my tent earlier in the day by sticking my sign and tables there. Thankfully the sign was not too wet. After wiping down the tables, I got to work unloading my stock.
There was a vegetable vendor setting up and a book vendor. We were it. All the other tables remained empty. The festival organizer, Chaturatma, came by with his umbrella wondering what the heck we were doing setting up in a downpour with a dim to hopeless weather forecast. I asked him if he thought I should pack up and he just shrugged his shoulders and said, “Well, you’re already all set up.”
So there I was, open for business in a rainstorm. My first sale took place in the midst of all that weather. I convinced one Italian-American man to buy some sausage. He did so, just to humor me, I think. But wouldn’t you know, he came back about an hour later to get some more. After tasting the sausage over at his car, he returned to my table saying “You’ve convinced me. That stuff is great.” Some more people trickled by but still, the rain was cramping my style.
My sign. Look, the Italian flag. Authentic.
Me and my sign.
Radhika Raman, book vendor who happens to also be my mailman.
Radhika Raman, the book vendor located right next to my table, said he was going to talk with Lord Indra, the Hindu Deity of rain. Well, I guess he got a good connection because within an hour or so, the sky cleared up for the rest of the evening. The festival attendance was smaller than in previous years because of the rain, but in my opinion, business was good.
I met a lot of great people that nite,including some who actually read this blog (initially I found that a little embarrassing but quickly got over it). I even got to meet the author of some blogs I read, like Malati , who hasn’t posted to her blog in a while. Bob, from Arkansas, was a kindred spirit who used to do a similar business and shared a bunch of helpful advice and anecdotes with me.
The surprise hit of the nite was the granola. The Indian visitors at the festival really went wild for this Western treat. I sold out of granola within the first 2 hours.
For me, the best part of the evening was the money. But the second best part was meeting lots of new people and receiving enthusiastic support and encouragement from them. Just about everyone was excited about my business and that made me feel excited. Not everyone bought something from me, but their kind words really kept me going into the nite, chained to the table while the rest of the world enjoyed themselves in front of my two very own nearsighted eyes.
When the crowds petered out around midnight, I began packing up. My husband had left hours ago with the kids, who were acting like whining banshees the whole nite. I had to break down the tarps and table myself, carrying cases upon cases of jam back to the car. It was hard work and basically made me want to cry. I swore I would never,ever do this again. Farmers markets, fooey. Mind you, this was before I had a chance to count my money.
After my car was packed up I headed over to the big tent where the midnight feast was being served out. Finally I got to schmooze with friends and walk around, free of jam. It felt good. I didn’t want to leave, but I knew my husband was expecting me home and besides, I really wanted to get home and count my money.
Seriously though, I didn’t. During the feast I was talking to my friend, Ali Krishna
, trying to figure out what I was going to do with my God-jam life. Did I really want this? Stuck to a table during the biggest festival day of my faith, selling jam, granola and vegan sausage? I mean, what the hell was I doing?
I decided that I am going to keep endeavoring with the jam (and other stuff, too). I love cooking, need to contribute to my family’s income and don’t have many options after spending “the best years of my life” living in Hare Krishna temples (whoa, I sound so middle aged). And I am into having a job which I can do from home and set my own hours. And I totally believe in the value of what I am doing. People need quality prepared food. Really, you do. But I hope that in the year to come I can get my stuff in stores and therefore have the distribution part taken care of for me. Because I really don’t want to spend next year’s festival tethered to a jam table.