Sadly, tomorrow (or by the time this is published, today) marks our last farmer's market of the 2015 season. Six long months, spanning three seasons, marked our first foray in a retail-- It feels as if it breezed by while also feeling like a million years. I have so many people who helped me along the way. Friends, family, and customers who gave up portions of their Saturday mornings to help me set up the booth, taste test my new concoctions, bought me flowers for my table, purchased our products, and made sure I was sufficiently caffeinated to get through the day.
It's fitting that the end of the market correlates with the time of year we reflect and give thanks. While the last five months paralleled our family's lowest of lows, losing my father on June 20th, having to do the market every Saturday served as a form of salvation for all of us. Our commitment to the Farmer's Market gave us the strength to drag ourselves out of bed on Saturday mornings, even at our saddest moments. It became a place where our (very large Italian) family could visit and spend time with us while reminiscing about my father's fondness of the WHB Farmer's Market. It was one of his main goals, since the beginning of the salt company, to have a booth at the market- a place he spent every Saturday morning, May-November, for the last six years. He loved getting his pretzels from Papa Pasqualle, farm share from Sang Lee, pies from Holy Moses Cheesecake (he loved the Tucker's), and his favorite peaches from Davis Peach Farm. Having to stare at all of these stands the few first weeks after he passed felt like a horrible joke or reminder, but I eventually found solace in being involved in something he loved so much. I feel very fortunate that he was able to be there to see me in action in May and the beginning of June. He knew what my stand looked like, he knew how serious I was about my display styling, he got to see my vendor neighbors, he had a home base to keep his full bags of locally sourced goods, and he was able to use my vendor discount :) Every Saturfay, even on the saddest ones, I felt a little proud to be there because I knew he was proud. I couldn't have done any of this without my mother and my siblings, Jenna, Maria, and Frankie. My mother, Laura, was by my side nearly every weekend, she has been the cornerstone of this company the past five months. My sister, Jenna, taught me invaluable sales techniques, kept me company, and started our popular sea salt scrubs! My sister, Maria, visited me throughout the summer and routinely commented on how cute the guy working the Papa Pasqualle booth is. My brother, Frankie, helped talk me through numerous mini breakdowns while also helping me set up and break down the stand. I could not have done this without them. Other worthy shout outs- my Aunt Eydie, Aunt Allison, Aunt Jenn, and Uncle Gino for showing up, helping out, and comforting us in the meantime. To thank all of the friends that have helped us, would require a separate post. I will spend the rest of my days in debt to them and being thankful to them. I am a lucky girl.
Big thanks to the Chamber of Commerce, Liz Jackson, and the other 54 vendors at the Westhampton Beach Farmer's Market. This season has been affirming and motivating. I look forward to the 2016 season (if possible!) and the future of Shelly Sells Sea Salt.
Please stop down and say hi tomorrow if you are on the east end!