farmers market

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:

-William Shakespeare

Summer, the most magical of seasons, is drawing to a close. Many of you were as busy during June and July as you are the rest of year..but I hope you had some respite from the crazy, frenetic Spring.

My favorite summer activities include going to movies to escape the oppressive heat, shopping the local farmers markets for amazing produce, picnics & concerts at the Dallas Arboretum and lazy afternoons by the pool. I also love eating dinner as late as we want to, outdoor exercise and the sun rising with me in the morning.

The images of summer that I adore are drippy ice cream cones, children in pajamas and puppies running around the farmers markets, colorful pedicures in chic summer sandals and emerald green waters with white sandy shores.

Soon the hot days will shorten to cooler evenings and we’ll be back on our patios sipping wine. The lights from Friday night football games will fill the neighborhood. The cross country runners will be on the streets early in the morning. After school activities will have us running, dividing and conquering. It’s all good, all part of the natural progression of things. One season closes, another begins. The goal is to enjoy each and every moment.

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My Box Club Love Affair (Have you been to my Costco yet?)

That’s right. My Costco finally opened on Thursday, May 11, to great fanfare at Churchill Way & Coit, the first Costco warehouse within Dallas city limits.

I refer to the store as mine because I have been longing for a location here ever since we left suburbia in 2013. Because. I. Love. Costco. I love the wine selection, the gourmet cheeses, the organic meat, fruits, vegetables and olive oil. Their bakery is good, return policy rocks and the customer service is always pleasant and friendly. Seriously…what’s not to love?

The ONE thing that I do not care for about Costco are the sample carts. Many people love, love, love the samples as evidenced by the crowds that form around the space, but those clusters of free-food-seekers drive me crazy when I’m trying to shop! I’ve also never eaten in the little cafe at the front of the store for which the big box chain is famously known for their $1.50 beef hot dog & drink combo. Do you know that price has been in effect since the warehouse first began their cafe offerings in 1985? They’ve never once raised the price.

And that’s another reason I adore Costco. It’s one of the few retail establishments where I don’t feel like the goal is to gouge it’s customers on prices. In fact, their average product mark-up is 11% compared to 24% at Wal-mart!

But enough of my gushing over my favorite big box store…head on over, tell them Ruth sent you and pick up a $4.99 rotisserie chicken on an evening when you don’t have a Butterfield Gourmet dinner for your table!**

P.s. We had a great day out at St. Michael’s on Saturday and loved seeing some of you while we sold out of our inventory. I forgot to share the link to the awesome write-up in the Dallas Morning News last week, so hope you’ll read it and catch the nice mention they gave the market and Butterfield Gourmet! **all comments and opinions are my own and Butterfield Gourmet received no compensation for this essay. I just really love Costco!

My Dallas Costco, 8055 Churchill Way

My Dallas Costco, 8055 Churchill Way

Fun at the Farmers Market

My crew and I have now worked two markets at Saint Michael’s and each Saturday has proved to be a fun experience.  We doubled our sales from week 1 to week 2, selling out of product in the second week.  Working at a Farmer’s Market is very different than other retail venues and I’ve listed here some of the things we’ve discovered/learned just in the two weeks we’ve worked.
1. It’s hot. Bring a fan. Always buy a popsicle from your local vendor, who is happy to cool your palate!

2. A lot of the customers want to chat… they are interested in your story and you should be ready to hear theirs as well.

3. Not all market goers want to chat. Don’t be offended if they just keep walking by your stall when you try to say hello.

4. Most of the shoppers have specific reasons for visiting the market: they are gluten-free or want to shop organic, believe in supporting local businesses or are investing in healthier lifestyles. Sometimes they are just looking for a specialty item they cannot find elsewhere.

5. Being at the market is a great opportunity to get your own grocery shopping done. We purchased delicious bratwurst, tender hot dog buns and croissant, perfect tamales, creamy goat cheese, Wagyu burgers and breakfast tacos. We also sampled yummy cookies and tangy pickles!

6. There are lots of puppies and cute kids. Farmers Markets are great outings for families so enjoy the scenery!

7. It’s important to have fun when the crowd is running a little thin. My son, James, shared his philosophy on the 3 stages of customer contact at a Farmers Market and it was most amusing! Perhaps I can persuade him to put it to paper and I’ll post it later. :)

We’ll be back at Saint Michael’s next Saturday, July 18, then off for a couple of weeks.  Hope you will stop by if you have a chance. And here’s the BG to Go Menu for this week utilizing some great farmers market finds. See you soon!

A little added bonus — here are a few tips from some cookbook authors on getting the most out of your trip to the Farmers Market!