Apr 9, 2016

Out & About: Honey Baby's First Pepper Place Market

My goodness! 

What an incredible day! An overwhelming day, but in a good way, ya know?

This morning began bright and early (does that phrase still count if the sun isn't up?) at 4:30am with a start. Today was the day! My first farmers market! 

That in itself is an exciting adventure, but, and not to add any pressure to it, but it's also the reason I moved across the country. I moved back to Birmingham to embrace it's burgeoning culinary culture and hopefully become a part of it. Pepper Place Market is right at the heart of that movement. The Market nurtures our Alabama farmers and entrepreneurs and has been instrumental in making people excited about our city again. I was beyond thrilled when I was accepted at The Market, but also nervous. My samples might have been good enough to get me in initially, but would I be up to muster at the actual market? Would people be interested in hand pies? Would my flavor combinations be too "interesting" or too boring? I had so many questions and fears, and it certainly felt like I was really putting everything out there on the line. I don't know if I've ever felt more vulnerable than I did this morning. I love these pies, but will you?

Dad and I arrived at The Market at 5:30am with a car packed to the brim. We backed into our spot and started unloading the car. I focused on trying not to think about how other people were decorating their tents. I'd already done a mock set-up of mine and had spent lots of fun at World Market picking out just the right amount of whimsy things. Deep breaths, deep breaths, and hang up that banner, girl! Honey Baby Bakery! Open for business- officially!

By 6:30am, we were pretty much set-up and Momma came to meet us and begin her official position as the Most Supreme Meeter and Greeter. In the weeks leading up to The Market, I'd agonized over how many pies to make. I mean, how many hand pies are too many hand pies? And, having never had a farmers market booth, nonetheless one at the most popular market in Birmingham, I made a wild guess. 180 hand pies. 5 dozen of each kind (blueberry, goat cheese, & basil, apple caramel, and strawberry tarragon), plus 24 double-chocolate brownies, which I'd made as my "Treat of the Week," which will rotate each market. It certainly seemed like enough to me! I mean, I'd spent 8 hours baking on Friday, and the kitchen was covered in pies. 

As the bell rang at 7am, I was nervously awaiting my first customer. As the people started to trickle in, so did my anxiety. I watched customers going here and there to tents, passing mine with a glance but moving on. I told Momma that I'd made too much. I was sure of it.

And, then 8am came and so did the people. The Market was bustling by 8:30 and the crowds just kept getting bigger. So many familiar faces passed by: friends, old teachers, family friends, Momma's former students, people I hadn't seen in years. It was wonderful! And, when people saw others buying those pies, they stopped too. One little boy bought one pie and then came back 10 minutes later to buy another one. A couple I'd met once before bought a brownie, ate it while we were chatting, and then bought another one right afterwards. Someone came to the tent to let me know they loved what they'd bought. How thrilling! And, suddenly, by 9:20am, I was sold out of bluberry. By 9:45, I was sold out of all of the flavors. And, by 10:15am, I was out of brownies. That's it, folks! With two hours still left in The Market, I was totally sold out. What a good problem to have, I guess! 

Words can't express how lucky I am to have such supportive people in my world. Thank you to each and every one of you who made it out to The Market, even if I'd already sold out. I owe you a pie, for sure! And, thank you to those near and far who commented or liked my post on social media. I could have hugged each of you for an uncomfortable amount of time. 

The even better news is that I get to do this all over again next Saturday! I'll be back at Pepper Place Market on April 16th from 7am-noon with even more hand pies and treats, and I hope to continue the success. After next week, I'll be off during the month of May, but back this summer on June 11th. 

Thanks for sticking with me on this journey. More recipes coming soon!