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To Farmers Markets or Not

When we first came up with the idea for batch, we thought we would sell our ice cream at farmers markets throughout the city, as well as shops and other wholesale avenues.  With ingredients from local farms, we thought the locavores who shop at farmers markets would find our ice cream appealing.  Additionally, we could work directly with the farms at the markets to get our ingredients like fruit, honey, maple syrup, herbs, etc.  All in all it seemed like a great match for us…until we dug deep into permitting with the City of Boston and what we would have to do to meet the requirements.

The bottom line is that we would need a freezer on site..and a generator…and a way to transport those things to the market.  We had wanted to do this by bike because of its greenness, saving money on a truck, and wanting to get in some exercise, which we knew would be tough to do otherwise during our hectic summertime selling season.  Not to mention that the City Of Boston does not allow for scooping of ice cream without there being hand-washing facilities.  Oh, so yeah, add in a sink too.  (Though we could have gotten around this by doing packaged containers, but containers just don’t have the same enticing effect as seeing another person walk around with an ice cream cone.)  Anyway, we have decided that for our inaugural year, we are going to concentrate on getting shops to stock our pints and restaurants to serve our ice cream.  Next year we will hit up farmers markets.

In the meantime, we can still learn a lot by going to farmers markets and talking to small food producers there.  That is in fact what we did this past Saturday when we attended the Pawtucket Wintertime Farmers Market.  This market was rocking with tons of people. In fact on the way down there, we stopped at the new Whole Foods in Dedham, for a little research.  Well, there were way many more people at the farmers market than at Whole Foods – and on a Saturday morning.  OK…..wait, why would we sell to shops and not at farmers markets?  Oh yeah, regulations….. Anyway, I encourage you to check out the market in Pawtucket on Saturdays this winter.  There were a ton of excellent vendors, yummy things to eat, and great coffee from a nearby roaster (New Harvest), as well as it is in a cool old industrial building.

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