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North Star Farms
P.O. Box 164
Carpio, N.D. 58725
(701) 720-2635

gardendwellers FARM

Marv's Blog
Sold Out
Written by Marv Baker   
Sunday, 30 September 2007

The title of this entry is something every vendor hopes for but rarely achieves. We've nearly done it this year and I can't thank our customers enough for their support of our certified organic produce.

True, we have a small farm, but we doubled our income on roughly the same amount of product as we had two years ago. This tells me that our customer base is gaining more confidence in what we have to offer to the farmers markets of western North Dakota.

First and foremost, Carpio is our home and this community has the most loyal customers a vendor could ever ask for. There have been times where we have sold more product in Carpio than we've sold in Minot. And for those living outside the area, Carpio's population is less than 200, where Minot's population is nearly 37,000.

Speaing of Minot, we opened a North Prairie location in downtown Minot this summer and it went very well. That explains why we delivered more product than in the past two years. A couple of our Minot markets were amazing for customer support and we look forward to working with the downtown association again next year to bring fresh, home-grown produce to downtown Minot.

We also participated in the Souris Valley Garlic and Grape Festival, which was, hands down, our best day in the three years we've been in this business. Using that day as a gauge, we have more than doubled our garlic order from a year ago as we sold out of garlic that day in the first two hours.... We sold out of nearly everything, but it was quickly apparent people were there seeking out top quality garlic.

 Mouse River Park was another great experience for the vendors of North Prairie Farmers Markets. Near the community of Tolley and the Canadian border, many of us had a brisk sales day on Aug. 11 which helped us project our product availability into September. We look toward negotiating with officials at Mouse River to expand to two or more markets in that location next year.

And finally, two markets that were sponsored by the North Dakota Department of Agriculture were held in Bismarck; Aug. 7 and Sept. 4. North Star Farms attended both and we had very successful days. Financial success is wonderful because it compensates vendors like Ilene and myself for the work we put in to provide certified organic produce to the North Dakota public.

But more than that, the two Bismarck markets taught me something. There's a greater percentage of people in our capital city who want certified organic. When customers realized North Star Farms is certiifed, the word spread quickly and produce moved from my booth just as quickly.

In the second-largest population center in the state, I heard time and time again how appreciative people are that Ilene and I are growing certified organic produce. The demand for organic is growing rapidly and my gauge of the Bismarck market confirmed that.

It simply means Ilene and I made the right choice when we decided to seek out certification when we did. No. 1: It's what we believe in; and No. 2: the public demand for certified organic is obvious in my mind.

We're all sold out today and we are preparing ground for planting garlic on Oct. 9. Then, we will wait until spring to get ready for another season of providing the best certified organic produce in western North Dakota. 

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