Tuesday, September 17, 2013

By The Bundle

Excitement is ramping up for New Amsterdam's Market. They believe it will be their biggest yet as anticipation has mounted over the long, marketless summer. Yesterday I built table-top, shallow produce "crates" to display my garlic. I will laser-cut signage today. But how to handle the fray? Should I have bags at the handy for people to drop their choices into or should I bundle their choices after they select them, or both? Maybe I should pre-bundle and tag so that the buyer knows what they are getting. Or should I just tag bags for each variety they purchase (although this could lead to a lot of brown paper bags)? I am stumped on the best way to handle the transaction. I believe education is part of what I am offering, so it goes that the buyer should be able to have labeled garlic at home, but labeling each and every bulb would be ridiculous. This leads me to the prospect of bundling by threes and labeling, but still priced by the pound. But what of the soul who only wants one of each or even just one of some?

We have only one two by six-foot table, with a bench behind us of the same thirtysix-inch height. If a buyer comes to the display and starts grabbing unlabeled garlic, but then wants it labeled, things could get confusing awfully fast. This leads me to the brown bag option -pre-labeled brown lunch bags at the foot of each variety crate. The buyer can drop each variety into its respective bag, which we will weigh and they will pay, placing all in a larger paper and handle bag. Seems overly fussy, no? So I come back to pre-labeled bundles of three. For those who want it all (and who doesn't?) I could have pre-labeled one-of-each variety bundles. Hmmm.

The fussy labeling and bundling is a lot of work. It seems unlikely that I will be able to bundle all my bulbs for sale before September 29 and I sorely understand that every label strung and knot tied is lost time and money. If you were to approach a produce table with seven varieties of garlic that you may want to buy, what would you find valuable?

I am doing the Dumbo Arts Festival again this year, under artist Heather Hart's Bartertown project. This time around I'm considering my barter project on the order of Work For Cloves. I'll have folks on a leisurely art stroll come to my booth to tie and label bundles for barter of loose garlic cloves. I've never been much of a Tom Sawyer, so the event should be rather amusing. How many can we get done that day? How many people want to participate in the local food system? How many people will work for cloves?

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