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Friends of the Market Enjoy Perks

June 3, 2013

As the late spring harvests are picking up speed, the Wild Ramp Market is full of lettuces, onions,  herbs, bok choy, and other greens these days. In addition, we have been exhilarated by the strawberries that have been delivered, picked fresh and ripe and full of flavor. They have seemingly evaporated within hours, as they dance out the door in the gleeful hands of shoppers.strwberries June 1

Several Board members went last Thursday to the pick-your-own farm Forgot N Times Farm in Louisa, Kentucky and persuaded the owner to become a Producer member. On Friday he delivered several flats of freshly picked berries. They sold out before the Market closed Friday evening.

Upon request, Fuhrmann Farms in Ohio brought in several more flats of  freshly picked berries Saturday afternoon around 1:30. They sold out before 3:00.

This behavior is pretty common for fresh fruit when it hits The Wild Ramp. We saw it last year for the raspberries and blackberries, the peaches, melon and more. This summer we are also expecting table grapes and are keeping our fingers crossed that we might get figs.July 25d

Face it, we like sweet fruit.  And the Producers are still learning how to bring in enough for all of our appetites, so sometimes there is not a huge continuous supply.

You already know that you do not have to be a Friend of the Market (consumer member) to shop there. Let me explain why we developed that membership option and why you might want to consider it.

The Wild Ramp Market is basically run on the consignment model. The Producers bring in their food, leave it at the market, and when it sells they receive 90 cents on the dollar. That works great for them. For the first time for many of them they are receiving a price for the food they work so hard to bring us that covers its cost to produce and their time and maybe a smidgen of profit.

It also only leaves ten cents on the dollar for the Market operation. Costs are not as high as most food stores. Everyone you see working there is a volunteer, with the exception of our Market Manager Shelly Keeney, who is paid part time.  But we still have rent, utilities, repairs, and more that are normal operating expenses.  But we can’t really cover all the expenses just with that dime from each dollar. That is when the memberships become important to the Market budget.

There are several levels of consumer membership, called Friend of the Market.  The one year membership is $100, but an option exists that reduces the cost to $50 with the promise of  one hour of volunteer time per month. Really, we also need volunteers so this is an important option to the Market as well as personal household budgets.volunteers

Other Friends memberships include  three years with no volunteer obligation ($250),  seven years with no volunteer obligation ($500),  ten years with no volunteer obligation ($750) or a Lifetime Membership with no volunteer obligation ($1000).

One of the benefits of being a Friend of the Market is that you can call to reserve something. Several Friends took advantage of that benefit to hold some strawberries in the back room cooler so they knew it would be there when they arrived at the Market a couple of hours later.

Another benefit that I have also used quite a bit is requesting something from the Producers. For example, I knew that my holiday dinners last December needed certain cuts of beef. I sent a request to farmer@wildramp.com and that was then conveyed to the beef Producers. One responded and sure enough, a week before my meal needed to be prepared, I had exactly what I wanted.  But I have also ordered smaller items, like steaks cut thicker, or a request for a certain vegetable.

Friends also receive discounts on some foods in the Market, reduced registration for classes, eligibility for the CSA, discounts in other shops with your Wild Ramp membership card, and the coveted shopping tote.bags

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