Getting Back in the Saddle Under Covid-19

Yes, I had to get back in the saddle again, and pony up to the fact that if we’re going to stay in business, we kind of need to sell something. After nearly two months, we had our first (little) market yesterday, Sunday, May 17th! We’ve stayed pretty low during these couple of months for several reasons; the unknown about Covid-19 and the stay-at-home restrictions that Arizona put in place at the end of March. Yet also, the fact that the last thing we need to do is have even the slightest possibility of spreading a virus to our customers! So, after contacting Medella Vina Ranch on Facebook and inquiring about her little farmers’ market (with no fee!) that she was hosting now each Sunday (stay-at-home restrictions have been rescinded), I decided to give it a try.

Photo of the Medella Vina Ranch sign

Medella Vina Ranch

I posted the event on our Facebook page, tagged Medella Vina Ranch, and in retrospect, should have added the other vendor that I knew would be there. I tagged the ranch when posting on Instagram as well as stories for both FB and Insta. Somewhat limited as not much of a timeframe to work with; just a couple of days.

Photo of horse at Medella Vina Ranch

Cash checking us out at Medella Vina Ranch

So then came my usual prep work; mixing all the cookies batters up on Thursday and Friday. I was super cognizant of cleaning and disinfecting; I’m pretty OCD anyway when it comes to cleaning, but even more so now. Saturday; or baking day flew by – worn out for some reason. Prepped the baking sheets with parchment paper; clean, bake, clean, bake. Then the packaging of the cookies remained the same; gloves, masks, clean and more clean. Sealed cookies, labeled, and packed in plastic containers for transport. Long day; muffins were last. Then loaded the car with everything but the product. It’s already too warm to load until ready to travel. That had to wait until Sunday morning.

What I didn’t expect; no sleep on Saturday night. Dreams – I haven’t had too many crazy dreams during this Covid-19 time, although I haven’t really been sleeping all that well either. But this time, I’m not sure if I was just stressed about the market since it’s been so long in between? Or was I stressed about making sure that I practiced the appropriate social distancing and had the proper protocols in place for the actual selling? I had all the tools; disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer (thank you Dad!) and paper towels, Square with the touchless payment ability, plastic tub(s) in order to deliver the bags of goodies to cars (contactless delivery)… I thought that I was pretty well set. Or perhaps could it have been that I had all of this product and what might happen if there were no customers? Ugh!

Photo of Clean, Sanitize, and more sanitze products

Clean, Sanitize, and more sanitize

Finally, Sunday morning came. I packed the car with the product, fixed my enormous jug of iced tea, and took off for the ranch. The temperature was supposed to be in the upper 90’s range, so with the market not starting until 10 am, it was going to be a little warm. Thankfully, between our tent and a little breeze, it was manageable. (There is no shade at the ranch where we were set-up.

While overall, the market ended up being very quiet, we sold a little bit! The market is set to continue each Sunday and we’re not being charged for the space through the end of the month by Medella Vina Ranch (thank you!) People are not yet going back to church and not a lot of restaurants are opening back up for dine-in service at the moment. With all of this, it still takes a “new” market time to be noticed and attended. We’ll continue through the end of the month.

Something that happened on Sunday – that pretty much made it a very special day – was meeting Charlie (again!) of Charlies Crafts and Treasures and Gluten Free and Vegan Cuisine. I knew she would be at the market and I explained to Medella Vina earlier, that there wouldn’t be any crossover in products, as our cookies are definitely not gluten-free – or free of much of anything that could be a dietary issue! I really didn’t want to show up and there be questions – oh, another baker-vendor?! (Some markets limit how many of particular types of vendors can be at the market at the same time.) Plus, it’s always good to know who you, as a vendor, can send potential customers to when they are asking for something that you don’t offer.

Anyway, Charlie came up to me after we vendors were all set-up and asked if I remembered her? I knew she looked a little familiar but sadly, I’m terrible when it comes to matching names with faces. Long-story-short, Charlie and I had a long conversation at the First Sunday Antique and Vintage Fair, nearly two years ago. We talked about how we (A Simple Cookie) got started in the cottage industry here in Arizona. We talked about her newly diagnosed issues with gluten and the difficulties of finding baked goods that she was so craving. Charlie said that I encouraged her to get started and try the markets. She said that she didn’t realize that there was so much to learn about the restrictions on home-bakers, but she dove in and has had so much fun! She said that I really encouraged her and this is where she is today.

Talk about wiping out my worries and tribulations of the day. So glad I came. So very very glad to see Charlie again.


Mom/Laurie with face mask at market

Mom/Laurie at market with appropriate face mask.