It doesn’t get any more local than this… strawberries from Nourse Farm in Whately, Bread from El Jardin Bakery in Deerfield, syrup from Sunrise farm in Colrain, honey in my tea from Warm Colors Apiary in Deerfield, eggs from my chickens, and pottery made by me. A good way to start my work week.
Looking forward to picking many pounds of strawberries this week at Nourse Farms. We will be making lots of jam, and freezing bunches for shakes and strawberry sauce all year long!
Pictured below, berry basket and mug, available at my etsy foodieceramics shop. Plate is special order.
It is January, there is a foot of snow on the ground, it’s as cold as can be… yet today local farmers gathered at Greenfield High School to sell their produce. I purchased fresh greenhouse spinach and lettuce, squash, whole wheat flour, honey, apples, jam, bread, grass fed beef, chicken, and even hot dogs! The Winter Farmers Market is growing steadily in Western Massachusetts. In Greenfield it is now a monthly event through the winter!
As I made my purchases I talked with the farmers. I asked them anything I wanted to know about their crops, and I thought wow, this is great. I love knowing where my food is coming from, I love buying local and keeping dollars in my community and I love supporting farmers! I was happy! The chitter chatter with the farmers and the smile on my face reminded me of how I feel with customers in my studio. Just a month ago at my Holiday Sale I was the one answering all the questions, and seeing the smiles on my customers faces. People thanked me for making pottery, and said how happy they were to be in my studio… I thanked them for supporting their local potter!
It’s all good!
More on the arts and the economy.
There is so much natural beauty here in Western Massachusetts, and so much happening in the arts. But the biggest and most exciting happenings are right here in Greenfield! Between the recent International Brick and Mortar Video Festival, to the huge state grant recieved for a performing arts center! Greenfield Ma. is in the midst of a downtown revival, thanks in part to the many artists, and musicians that live in the valley.
I recently read an article in Preview (the valley arts magazine) about Greenfield coming back to life. In an interview with Ed Wierzbowski, artist and entrepreneur, and major player in the downtown revival, (restoring two central Main St. historic buildings). Ed talks about the ripple effects of the creative economy. He was quoted as saying for every dollar spent on the creative side, five more are spent locally. I see how that happened here with my recent pottery workshop. Money was spent at the B&B’s, restaurants, local shops, and farms!
When I think about where I live, I think about the vibrancy of the arts and the beauty of this area known as Western Massachusetts. I ask myself how do I want to see this place in five years? Do I want a Wal-mart? Or do I want to walk downtown and go to a great restaurant, a concert, an art opening, or a movie? Do I want to shop at the small locally run businesses, or get on my bike to go buy apples from the local orchard, or maybe just take a walk and see the scenic views? I think the answer is pretty clear… when you live in a special place that tourists come to all year round, (especially the Leaf Peepers this time of year), you should keep that a place that people want to see, taste, and feel with all their senses!
A couple of years ago I vowed to try not to use my credit card for any local businesses after I found out from my local food co-op how much credit card fees can add up. At our annual meeting they asked us to think twice about using our credit card. That year they had spent $65,000 in credit card fees! Whew!
As a potter I started to accept credit cards three years ago, knowing (I thought) full well about all the fees. I must admit… people do buy more when they have that little card with them. So the reality is that I have made more sales since accepting credit cards. But those darn fees… I just remind myself, ” it’s a write off on my taxes.”
This past week I started doing some research on the credit card app for the iPhone. I wanted to compare my current fees with what they would be with an iPhone app. It was then that I learned that not all transaction fees are equal. Did you ever think about when you earn bonus rewards, or flyer miles, etc. where that extra bonus money comes from? Each time you purchase an item from a merchant, the merchant pays a little extra in transaction fees. So in essence each time you buy a pot from me and earn your rewards points I pay 3.61% per transaction fee rather than the 1.92% standard fee for the non rewards card. Whew… that really made me think about the whole credit card industry! We all just so blindly use these convenient little cards without asking any questions. Like Forest Gump said, ”well… that’s all I have to say about that!”