Recent Posts

  • Crafting and Sewing Leather Items for Sale at a Farmer’s Market

    The farmers market can be a minefield for anyone who has the right items to sell. Sewing and crafting leather can give you fantastic products. You can make wallets, jackets, pouches, belts, aprons, among others. So, what do you need to know about crafting and sewing leather?

    Understanding Leatherwork

    Leather is a versatile material, and you can create so many items to sell at the farmer's market. The process of sewing and crafting leather is not as difficult as one can imagine. All you need are the right tools and instructions to come up with amazing products.

    So what do you need to know?

    Choose the Right Type of Leather

    You have many options with regard to the type of leather you can buy. When buying, ensure it has undergone a tanning process so that it does not decompose. Finished leather gives you variety with regards to color. It allows you to come up with more exciting products for your booth at the farmers market.

    Determine what items you want to sell and then follow the steps below:-

    • Measuring and Marking

    Do not cut your leather before you measure and mark it. You get to avoid costly mistakes and will achieve better results. There are online tutorials you can use to draw patterns. Alternatively, you can buy the patterns; it will make your work so much easier.

    Use chalk for the markings because it rubs off easily. Pencils can leave marking, so if you must use them, be light on the hand.

    If you are not using an outline, you will need a measuring tape or ruler to measure and mark the shape.

    • Cutting

    Always remember to leave an allowance of about a quarter or half an inch. It gives you room to maneuver, and all you need to do is trim off the excess when you finish.

    The blade you use should be sharp so that you get a smooth edge. Utility knives, replaceable blades, or rotary cutters work well. You can also find specialty knives for cutting leather.

    Scissors or shears are fantastic for cutting shapes or removing excess bits. Just make sure they're sharp enough to handle the job.

    • Sewing

    Glue the pieces together before you sew them. Some tools you can use include:-

    • A groover to mark the sewing path
    • Stitching spacer, stitching wheel or diamond chisels if you are using a punch or awl to make holes
    • One crucial step is to make the leather a bit damp so that it becomes more malleable.
    • Use tape instead of pins so that you do not leave permanent holes.

    While you can hand-sew, sewing machines are more convenient and faster, see She Likes to Sew. You produce more leather products in a shorter time.

    It is possible to use your home sewing machine with a few modifications. You will need to change the presser foot to a roller or Teflon foot.

    You also need heavy duty needles and polyester or nylon thread for durability.

    Sewing and crafting leather is easy if you take the time to learn how to do it well. You will get tons of products to sell at the farmer's market.

  • Growing Sweet Cherry Tomatoes: 101

    As a beekeeper, you know I have a sweet tooth and like to have something sweet on hand at all times, especially after a long hot day at the farm, or grooming my lovely horses at the stalls. But, however much I crave sweets, I try to eat organically as much as I can. I have an abundant source of locally grown produce from my own garden, and of course, there’s the honey from my bees, so it’s not that hard at all. In fact, having fresh produce at the tip of my fingertips is the main reason I own a farm, but everyone has their weakness, and I guess mine is having a sweet tooth!

    I’ve always liked tomatoes and I’m always baffled when someone says they don’t like them. The craziest thing is when they also say they don’t eat tomatoes, but love ketchup - have you ever heard that? My five-year-old niece often says that. I’ve rarely heard anyone ever say they don’t like cherry tomatoes, though - even people who say they don’t like them usually won’t refuse a cherry tomato bruschetta.

    Actually, my niece is a big fan of this dish, but due to the sweetness of the cherry tomatoes I think she hasn’t figured out that it’s made out of a different kind of tomato. Well, at least she likes this, because she sure hates tomato soup. She threw it in the toilet once without saying anything and that’s when we knew she won’t be asking for seconds, haha! It was a brand-new toilet and we had to call in the plumber, but luckily there wasn’t any serious damage. We didn’t need to go toilet shopping or the like.

    Ok, back to the point. You need a sunny spot if you're gonna grow cherry tomatoes. If you live here in North Carolina this won’t be such a problem, but if you live in colder places, it’s best to wait for the warmer days of spring. But, don’t worry, cherry tomatoes are one of the easiest plants to grow from the seed!

    For starters, you need to choose your cherry tomato seeds, there are so many juicy varieties, you can’t go wrong with either of them, be it the Sweet Million, the Sun Gold, the Black Pearl or the Sun Sugar, whatever floats your boat!

    Next, you’ll need potting mix, tomato plant food and wooden stakes. You need the stakes so the vines have a climbing path, this is integral in the process. When you plant the tomatoes in your garden, make sure the wooden stakes are approximately at an equal distance from each other.

    Ideally, you should plant the cherry tomatoes when the weather is around 70F. As I said before, they need warm and sunny weather to thrive, so picking a sunny spot where they’ll get plenty of sunlight during the day - they should receive at least eight hours of direct sunlight during the day, especially in the beginning - otherwise your effort will be fruitless (literally)!

    And finally: always make sure you test the pH of the soil beforehand, water your plants regularly, and, of course, soil fertilizers are your best friend!

    Happy planting, I’m sure you’ll enjoy your sweet cherry tomatoes with gusto, and satisfy that sweet tooth with your own home-grown fresh produce.

  • Liquid Gold

    For fellow farmers out there, or those who enjoy our stories, I own stalls at the North Carolina Beach Farmers market, selling bee honey and other hand-grown and handmade items. I hope to bring awareness of my region and our local enterprises to the world. Please join me on my quest. It is no surprise that the farmers’ market vendors are making record sales. All thanks to their pure, organic and naturally grown products, off-beat products are among the most purchased groceries in our markets, minimarts, supermarkets, and even on social media. People don’t want their food tainted with chemicals and sprays as the consequences are well known. They want better ingredients, better taste, and better health. Because of the frenzy for quality nutrition, even non-farmers have begun to invest in farmers’ markets. Maybe you are one of them. There are websites giving directions to where you can find a market for particular products. So, yeah, farmers markets are a big deal. Well, they are certainly lucrative to me and I work hard at my trade not only to give the public what it wants, but to allow me to have the necessities of life. I can attest to the fact that you can support your lifestyle with “liquid gold.” There is nothing like honey with local flavor to entice buyers to your door. Keeping it in attractive jars with personalized labels doesn’t hurt. People love to display the raffia-tied containers on their kitchen shelves. Of course, you think of basic overhead as rent, food, transportation, entertainment, etc. Imagine that I singled out one particular new purchase from my honey profits: a tankless water heater from How many jars of honey does it take to buy one of these new marvels of technology? That is a math problem for your kids for sure. I didn’t do the arithmetic, however, as the cost of such an appliance would take more than one session at the market. I now know that the public supported my efforts, as I was able to get my replacement water heater in less time than expected. Fortunately, I didn’t have to wait long for some decent hot water for a long shower. No more tepid times under the dual-head spray. Most people who live in older homes or apartments must make do with that waiting period for hot water to accumulate. With the tankless models, this is no longer a chore. You can wash pots and pans, run a dishwasher, clean the floors, and then take a shower since no cumbersome and ugly metal tank is depleted. I adore my new unit and brag about it to friends. Everyone wants to upgrade as well. They are more affordable than ever and easy to find. Your eyes will no longer turn away from a bulky tank in the hall closet. There is now room for more clothes and storage items. After all, I need space for my unfilled honey jars!

  • Popular Products Sold at the Farmers Market

    The farmers market is an establishment that has been in existence since the beginning of time; selling products that are not only fresh but naturally grown. It is this characteristic of the farmers market is one of the reasons why the farmers market has so many customers. So it should not come as a surprise when you notice an opening of new farmers market around your locality. Another reason why the farmers market is making many trends is the fact that, the produces are usually the complement of a particular locality; products in the farmers market are usually a product, common to that locality. Because of this, products usually differ from one farmer's market to another. However, they are some products that you can find in virtually all farmers markets. The products are;

    • Freshly killed meat (sometimes with fresh fish): statistics have shown that the level of consumption of meat (red and white) is on the high side, with roughly about million cows being killed every year. Meat is eaten in almost home, both in the United States of America (U.S.A) and the world in general. A farmers market would not be complete if it didn’t have meat or many meat stalls.
    • Cottage and Dairy Products: cheeses and milk are usually found in a farmers market. Cheese is used as an ingredient in many American dishes, thus the need to be sold in all markets. Dairy products are one of the primary products of farms.
    • Peas, lettuces, carrot, onion, tomatoes, pepper. These are the primary product you can find in a farmers market, anytime, anywhere. These farm products are basic products that can be cultivated by any farmer. Anywhere, anytime.
    • Veggie Shakes: although I told you that these products could be found in farmers markets, the veggie shake, will, however, be dependent on the agricultural product that is prevalent in the local area. Veggie shakes are like milkshakes, but with vegetables.
    • Regular Shakes: the reason why regular shakes are usually sold in farmers markets is usually of dehydrated kids and adults who don’t want the veggie shakes. Plus the vendors themselves also take the shakes once in a while.

  • Shopping for Your Neighbors

    Giving is now a thing of a past. We now live in a ‘me,’ ‘myself,’ and ‘I’ world. Everyone always wants to satisfy himself. This personal gratification is the why neighbors no longer give common things to each other. This issue of giving is a big one, that is why there are even websites dedicated to neighborly giving. These sites are trying to inculcate the spirit of giving and neighborly love in the hearts of the American society. They are basic things you can do as a neighbor, to show your neighbors, the neighborly love, that we are talking about today. Things like garden tools are good things to give to your neighbors. Here are some groceries you can get, that can be beneficial to you and your neighbors.

    • Cheese: getting excess cheese is good. Research has shown that cheeses are used in many dishes, and you can get it for yourself and a little extra, for your neighbor.
    • Peas: a can of a pea can last for a long while. It is good that you can also get some for your neighbors. It shows that you care about the health of your neighbor.
    • Sugar: ‘can I borrow a cup of sugar?’ ‘Sure you can’ sugar has been the most shared groceries amongst neighbors for a long time now. Since the 19th century, sugar was not an issue, and a neighbor could happily give a cup of sugar to their neighbors. But lately, sugar amongst other things, are not even given any more. The chain of giving has been broken, and people are now greedier than ever. That aside, sugar is a great commodity that you can get for your neighbor.
    • Flour: you can get a bag of flour and keep at home so that it can serve you and your neighbor. Flours can be used for baked food like pie; therefore, it’s very necessary to have flour at home, so you can also spare some to your neighbor.

  • Cooking Seasonally

    Every location and locality has special ingredients and seasoning they use to make their meals and dishes taste different and peculiar (in a good way). When cooks, prepare dishes and make it according to the locality they are in, what they are doing is, appreciating the food and culture of that locality. Plus, cooking with seasons, helps you understand how using the seasoning and ingredients works. If you find yourself in a local area, you haven’t been to before, or maybe you relocated to a new place, it will be a nice idea to try out their local dishes, fruits, and vegetables; it shows how much you appreciate their culture and culture generally. Everyone talks about seasonality when talking about food that comes with inspiration, but it is important to note that cooking according to the season is not as easy as it sounds. There are a few guidelines you should get acquainted with before you attempt to make a locally seasoned food. It is advisable that before anyone attempt to make a seasonal dish, they have to know their ingredient and the way it goes with the meal they wish to prepare. As mentioned earlier, they are some guidelines to bear in mind when trying to cook seasonally. I’ll run you through them;

    • Start By Thinking about Your Locality:
    Why is this first point important? Before I answer that question, you should know that the moment you enter a new locality, you enter into a new experience, culture and most importantly; you get to test and try out new delicacies. Most people make the mistake that when they are in a new locale; they find grocery items that are from their previous region. They are two things wrong with that sort of thinking; not only will the person not find the ingredient (based on probability), it goes to show the person level of culture block or lack of appreciation for culture. On the other hand, however, buying local ingredients increases your chances of getting inspiration on a course of a meal; you’ll notice that things will fall into their natural form. It is simple really, search for green markets in the area you’re in and let the inspiration take over.
    • Always Preserve Leftover Ingredients If possible.
    When you finish cooking, and you realize, you still have some leftovers that you may probably need some other time. It is wise to can or freezes the leftovers; who knows when you might have your next inspiration, with the same ingredients. It would be a shame if you had a very good idea and you had no ingredients to execute your brilliant ideas. When preserving the ingredient, for it to be kept better, it is advisable to keep until it is ripe (for fruits and veggies that can get ripened), before storage. They are other ways of storing and preserving other groceries; for instance, you can either can, blanch or peel the tomato before storing. Then when it is draught season for these particular ingredients, you’d be grateful you stored the leftovers when you had the chance.
    • Best you have a stocked cupboard filled with all seasons
    Most people don’t understand the value of filling up their cabinets with all kinds of seasonings and ingredients. Not only does it save you a lot of money, but it also prepares inspired chefs for the future. There is an important need to stock up. For those who live far from greenhouses and farms, it would be nice for you to stock up on your veggies and fruits. You can preserve them and use them whenever you want, with no trouble of finding them in far way markets when you need them.
    • Add-ins is not a bad idea.
    If you want your ingredients to last longer and taste better, you can enhance your preserved ingredients with some add-ins. They help in adding richness and palatability to canned foods. For instance, you want a rich and sweet taste from your canned tomatoes; you first roast your tomatoes with garlic, butter, and anchovies. It not only provides with a sweet taste, but you’re also sure of a healthy meal.

  • Save the Bees Campaign

    The save the bee campaign is a campaign that is taken seriously, like global warming, or heart attacks or even finding a cure for cancer. Now we all know that bees and other flower insect help in pollination and cross-pollination, it is thanks to them that we get to enjoy the beauty and fragrance of these flowers, we all know that. But what we don’t know is that, if these bees don’t do their thing, then, not only will the beauty and fragrance be gone as well, it will be the end of the world, because, the plants’ end product (oxygen), is our only hope of survival. But, what then, is the need for the save the bees campaign? A recent evaluation of the survival of bees has shown that bees are nearly extinct, as bee farmers are to cultivate bees on closed door and bee breeding houses. One of the strategies that have been devised to the save the bees is the ‘bring back the bee campaign.’ This campaign was initiated to try and control the rate in which the bees are declining, thus the hashtags. Apart from the fact that, farmers now cultivate bees in farmhouses, which drastically causes harm to nature, the bees that are not bred are still in danger of extinction. Another major cause of the decline of the bees is the pesticides used to kill other plant-eating insects. The neonicotinoids which the pesticides contain helps in keeping pests away, but it also kills the bees. These pesticides are now used everywhere; in the farm, garden centers, even at home, on our lawn, and every other plant growing vicinity. As soon as the bees get in contact with the pesticide, they die. Even if they do survive, don’t get your hopes up yet, the possibility of them contacting other diseases is about 98 percent high; the odds are not in their favor. There is a need to create an awareness that, the bee is vital to our survival as humans; and as pollinators, the plants also depend on the bees for their survival as well. Luckily, several organizations have devoted their time to trying to fight the rapid decline of these pollinators. There has been an improvement in Europe. The guardians have reported the use of neonicotinoid insecticides in the fields of Europe will be banned, within six months. These efforts aim at raising the pollination rates of the bees in that region. In the meantime, Scientists are developing new ways to fight the pest problem. These efforts have all been targeted at saving the bees. The need to save the bees has gone to the political level, as top-notch politicians, around the world, use the bees as a failsafe in their political campaign. The promise to save the bees, by the politicians, arouses the support of bee enthusiasts, and they are compelled to vote. Although the reason for the campaign may be wrong (political ambitions), it is a step further towards saving the bees. Let’s do our part, let’s save the bees.

  • How to Become a Farmer Market Vendor

      Because of the frenzy going on in the various farmers market around the globe, a lot of eager young farmers are beginning to venture into this lucrative money making the opportunity. For centuries, the farmers market has been the most common of selling farm products. And over time, the farmers market has become an integral part of a community, regarding providing the community with fresh fruits and vegetables. In some part of the world, and most probably in your local communities, you find out that, some supermarkets and grocery stores do not even sell most of the farm produce. The farmer's markets are the only places you can find these special products. The income generated from the farmer's markets is beginning to gain attention among non-farmers. It is quite easy to be a vendor of your local farmers market, selling your homegrown farm products, or other house produced foods. But for an effective and lucrative sale, you’ll have to follow some steps.

    • Be Prepared. Make A List Of All That You Need
    To be a very successful farmer, you have to prepare and work hard. You have to ensure that you have all you need to start up a farmers market. You have to check and cross check all your items, so you do not get agitated when you don’t have a particular item. Like I said before, being a farmer’s market vendor is hard work; you have to prepare you to produce and drive them to your vendor stand before your customers arrive. If you do not have a stand in the farmers market, then you may need to carry your stand, which can be inconvenient. For you to be good at what you do, it will be a nice idea to smile a lot when attending to customers. That charm and convivial attitude will bring customers your way. Don’t get discouraged, because even your lunch may be in a rush.
    • Decide What You’re Going to Sell
    One of the reasons why the farmers market tends to have so many customers is because the produce in the farmers market is usually fresh. You come in as a farmers market vendor here; not only must you sell fresh products, you must also pick a particular product to sell. You could sell freshly killed meats, fresh fish milk fruits, and veggies, even hot or cold drinks (depending on the mood it is to be served) can be sold in the farmers market; pick a product to sell. The fresher the farm products are, the better your chances of having more customers. Advertising and arranging your products in a special also help your competition.
    • Acquire a Board of Health Certification
    To get customers to trust you more, and to purchase your products, it will be wise that you get certified. The certification always comes in handy for those in the food selling business, and also for those vendors who deal with fresh products, like fruits and vegetables, milk, cottage products, fresh meat, and fish. The reason for getting the certificate is simply because of the potential health hazard threat it poses. Getting a certificate from your local board of health increases your chances of being accepted into the farmers’ market vendor family.
    • Try to Create and Maintain a Healthy Relationship with the Owner of the Market
    The moment you create a friendly and healthy relationship with the organizers, there is a 95 percent probability you’ll last in the market. When you want to meet with the organizers, try to give a great sales pitch. Also, ask questions about customers and other market vendors.
    • Prepare or Have your Stall
    You don’t expect to share a stall with another vendor. You need to have your stall. In some markets, there are premade stalls, all you have to do is pay the rental fee. In other markets, you have to provide your stall, to keep in the space provided for you. Your stall has to be made according to the mode it is made in the particular market, or to suit your product. There is usually a provision for that.
    • Always be Prepared.
    To make it in the farmer’s market vendor’s competition, you need to follow these principles. Always prepare your product beforehand; go to bed early and wake up early as well.