Friday, April 18, 2008

Candy and the Farmer's Market

Last summer I sold homemade candies at a local farmer's market. It was the first ever farmer's market for my nice little town, and it was a lot of fun.

I sold my candies under the name Castle Door Candies. I used the image above as background for my signs.* I sold three types of fudge, two types of caramels, and something which I called treacle crunch, which is candy honeycomb (not actual honeycomb) covered in a chocolaty coating.

It was a lot of work making the candies during the week. I cut and wrap the caramels by hand, which is tedious. And making the fudge is always a bit nerve-wracking. It takes quite a while for the candy concoction in the pot to reach the right temperatures, and then it must cool for a time, and then comes the nerve-wracking part. It must be beaten to just the right consistency. If it's underbeaten then it doesn't set right. If it's overbeaten, then you're left with a stiff gob of unsellable gump - and there are only a few seconds between the perfect consistency, which will result in velvety, chocolaty ambrosia -and overbeating which will give you a lump of crusty hard-tack.

The insides of the treacle crunch are kind of fun to make. When the treacle-sugar concoction in the pot reaches the right temp, you add baking soda and whip up. The mixture expands into a candy foam which you pour out and let harden. When hard, you break it up. Then comes the part that I don't like so much. Dipping the crunchy centers in the chocolaty coating. It makes my back sore for some reason.

But when Saturday morning came - it was all worth it. The market was so much fun! We had great weather every single Saturday. I gave out free samples of my treats and it was such a blast to hear people saying good things about my candies. I was always amazed to actually be selling my candies. People actually bought them!

The market is returning this summer and I have to decide whether or not I want to participate again. It was a lot of work during the week for one morning of fun. The profits weren't all that stellar - even upon selling out most weekends. There's a limit to what people will pay for a bag of caramels or a block of fudge, or a bag of treacle crunch - no matter how yummy it is.

The experience last year, though, was very rewarding personally if not necessarily monetarily.

* The castle door image above was photoshop-ed from one of my own pictures. It's actually of a church door, not a castle door. I took the picture on a trip that my family took to Germany when I was 19. The original picture (although shown in B&W because that's what I have saved in my computer) is below:

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