All good things must come to an end.
And the summer outdoor market is no exception. Over the years we have enjoyed getting to know our summer market customers, and the other vendors become like family.So when the last market happens it is often a bittersweet time for us all. It is nice to look at an end to long workdays but it is also sad to say good-bye to people.Even if it is only for the winter. I have been asked what I do when the markets finish. I usually joke and say, “sleep” or something like that. But there is always something to do on a farm. But just because the markets have stopped doesn’t mean the work is at an end, at least not quite yet. We still have root crops to clear out, preserves to make, and animals to butcher before winter comes. Sometimes if we have the time and energy we will do extra work on the gardens in preparation for the next spring, like working up a new area to be gardened the following year or adding manure to an existing garden so it is ready to plant.I would like to save some parsnip seeds this year but to do that I need to protect an area of the parsnip patch from freezing over the winter. Parsnips are a biennial plant, producing seeds the second year.To protect the plants all I intend to do is cover an area of the parsnip patch with either sawdust or straw bales. This will not only prevent the frost from going into the ground but will also mark out where not to till-up the garden next spring.But with the earlier than usual frosts we have had this year we may not get done in time. I don’t want to cover the plants too soon, which would kill them, but I also don’t want to leave them too long and have the roots freeze before I can get them covered. This year the ending of the market season will be a bit different. We have been going to two markets a week since the end of June, one on Thursday and one on Saturday, and they don’t finish on the same week.September 11 will be the last Thursday market and September 27 will be the last Saturday market. So while the workload may lessen it won’t drop off completely like it has in previous years. We may see vendors and customers at Saturday markets when they normally would only be at the market on Thursdays.So instead of one single day to end a season, we will have several, which does seem more like the changing of the seasons. Summer doesn’t turn into winter all in one day — although it can feel like it coming — and now the markets will gradually end as well. And while all good things must come to an end, bad things don’t last forever.Just remember, while winter may be coming, spring is too.