Local ingredients yields the opportunity to learn new homesteading skills.
Our friend, Randy Bulla, a well known blues harp player who has been a touring musician for most of his life, lives on his 92 year old father’s land near the Paris River bottoms between gigs. When he’s in town we play a little music, talk about gourds and lately he brought me some beeswax that he harvested from beneath an old trailer on Pappy’s land. He thought I’d like to try it in a recipe for the latest “farm to salon” beauty product that I’m working on.
I watched a youtube video on rendering beeswax, ruined a few plastic containers and a sauce pan and ended up with 4.7 ounces of beautiful local beeswax!
I have been testing a mint tincture, plantain salve, rosemary hair spray, and a charcoal drawing salve for the past year with great results. I look forward to working with this local beeswax and bringing new products to the market.
The Farmer’s Market is the perfect field test environment for gaining face to face feedback about products. And for us newcomers, a great way to meet the more conscious people of the town. All of the vendors and attendees are the best and brightest that Paris has to offer.
A couple of other lives ago I owned boutiques in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Austin, Texas, and Barcelona Spain. I started making bath salts and selling them at the counter. I found the Chinese take out containers that I’d used to package the bath salts. I added the blooms and botanicals that I had gathered and dried for the past year and a half to the bath salts recipe from boutique days of yore and put our farm’s logo on it. Found some burlap bags and gourds in the barn, cleaned them up and we were ready for our first Farmer’s Market.
We’d visited the well attended Ft. Smith Farmer’s market and asked a friend who has successfully created a product line which she sells at the award winning Fayetteville Farmer’s Market for some coaching. We bought a tent, folding table and market tea jug and set out. The smaller size of The Paris Farmer’s Market felt comfortable for us newbies.
People really responded to the fresh mint tea (made from mint and stevia grown at Bohemian Farm) that we served at our booth. The feedback we received regarding our packaging, logo, and aestethic was positive and affirming.
Farmer’s Market Assessment:
Some pop up tents are heavier than others.
There are people on the planet who are unfamiliar with mint tea.
People care about packaging. The months I spent researching and designing our brand paid off.
Beige blooms in the bathtub are less appealing than ones with color.
Hire a beautiful friend to model your T-shirt.
My approach to design, styling, and writing skills are valued by my new community. I’ve had the pleasure of contributing my expertise to many projects in town. However, Paris does not share the same population as the larger markets such as Ft. Smith and Fayetteville.
After advising a fellow farmer to look outside of Paris for the recognition and fulfillment she seeks, I’ve decided to take my own advice.