Monday, June 18, 2007

You never know where we'll end up.....

As most of you know, I have the opportunity to travel around NE TN and Southern VA and speak to people about using herbs. Sometimes I teach on culinary herbs and sometimes I teach on medicinal herbs. Truthfully, seems that more people are interested in using them medicinally. I think it is easier to find information on cooking with herbs than making medicine with least from a Christian perspective. It is rare to find someone who will teach on medicinal herbs without throwing in a lot of New Age garbage philosophies.

However, when being invited to a new place, we never know what our surroundings will be like....or what business we will do. I always take my soaps, salves, teas etc. with me and hope to sell some....usually that hope is well founded.

Here are a few of the places we found ourselves recently! Some were surprising and some were familiar. My friend Christy and her husband own Shy Valley Nursery just a wee bit north of us - she recently moved her business to a new location and asked me to come and do a class for her customers on cooking with herbs for her grand opening.

I took Josiah with me that day as my helper and we ventured to Fall Branch TN - a lovely place! We set up our sales table:


Then Christy provided a wonderful quilted table for "cooking". tn_100_3818.JPG

I asked Christy to provide us with herbs that she had plenty of so that we could help with promoting sales that day. Christy had thoughtfully made Mint water, and then we made butter with Salad Burnett and garlic and cream cheese with Rosemary, Thyme, & garlic. We also handed out a recipe sheet with many other herbal ideas! We served our tasty treats on crackers.....yummy! The customers loved it and I hope it helped sales that day.

We also did a show at the Appalachian Fairgrounds in Gray, TN. I have done this show in the past and it has been a lot of fun. Although last time we were inside.....

This time we ended up in the stables!



The vendors were given a long building used to house animals during the state fair. I was thankful for the roof over our heads since it poured rain most of the day! I know a lot of the vendors and we had a lot of fun but it was the first time I ever lost money going to a show - poor weather and the high cost of gas had a lot to do with this.

As you can see we set up in sandy dirt - very different but it helped "Tom Sawyer" sell his cane poles! I think Josiah sold them all that day. It is hard to resist those big green eyes and the freckles across the nose :)


Our last show was the Northeast Tennessee Master Gardeners Convention. This was a new one for us and in a new location in Kingsport TN. We weren't sure what to expect ....boy were we surprised - from the dirt floor stables to a "high falutin'" fancy place as Grandma used to say. The convention center was owned by Marriott and beautiful! We had a wonderful location - right next to a beautiful display - sort of an indoor park!


We had plenty of room to spread out (you'll notice lots of new soaps and many more salves...coming later this week to my website!)


I took the advice of my good friend Julie and offered taste tests of my teas. She explained to me that when she thought of herbal teas she thought of weeds and grass....yuck! However, she said, if people could taste they would certainly buy since my teas are delicious (how else could I get my children to drink them?). So, for the first time ever....ta da.....taste tests! I must say they were a huge hit. First, it drew people into our booth - who can pass up a taste test? Second...they bought...and bought...and bought! I sold more tea that weekend than all of my shows combined! Third...people saw my customers walking around with their little taste test cups and asked where to get more people arrived asking if this was the place...indeed it was! Amazing how far people will walk for a free sip of tea!

You can see Jeremy's jewelry table in the back of our booth. Each time he does a show with me he gets a little bit more professional in his display...and it is showing in his steady increase in sales!


It was a beautiful convention center - twinkle lights hung in great long strands from the ceiling, the carpet was thick, the hall was full of vendors and they said they were expecting 7,000 people to visit the vendor exhibits! Woo hoo!! We had come a long way from the stables! However...there were a few small glitches....

I am not sure we even had 500 people pass through this place....quite a disappointment - although I didn't loose money this time! We had a slight problem with the meals purchased from their in-house restaurant - time delays, items incorrectly made but all of those were workable...until the bug crawled out of my meal (after I had eaten several bites..yikes!). I decided that water would be fine for the rest of the day!

We made some wonderful new friends...hello to the wild and crazy three from Nashville who visited my booth at least 4 times a day and took the time to encourage Jeremy in his music career! (You know who you are!!)....and a sweet grandpa who was there with a display of gems, geodes, fossils and other beautiful things - he took Elijah under his wing and taught him a lot about different types of stones (I am sure we visited his booth at least 4 times a day! Hi Bud!), caring and generous Delores who fell in love with Elijah (and he with her!), sweet Allison who makes beautiful jewelry, crazy Laura and Sheila who told me about the show in the first place and then lastly, but very importantly we met Pat Lanza who wrote the book Lasagna Gardening - one of my favorites! (you can find it at Amazon in my links to the right)...Pat's booth was across from ours.

Pat and her husband were fascinated by my boys - who, when not helping customers or re-stocking baskets (or when not visiting Bud's booth!) sat reading for most of the day. Truly I am thankful for my boys..I want to encourage you young mothers....stick with it during their toddler consistent and lean heavily on God...although you feel like you want to drop at the end of every day (I know I did!) it is so worth it later on. I am so blessed! We got to visit with Pat a lot over the weekend and she was a great encouragement to me.

God led Pat to share some of her personal story with me. Turns out that she faced the same trials at 50 years of age that I am now facing in my life at 50 years of age! It was wonderful to hear from a woman who has walked this valley before me, to hear how God was faithful to uphold her through it all and to see her on the other side of the valley giving glory to God and sharing how wonderful life is at this point in her life. They were sweet to spend time with Elijah to encourage him and sent him off with a lovely garden tool, signed by Pat (not sure it will ever leave his "display" and actually get to be used in the garden although my fingers are itching to try it). Pat and I exchanged email addresses and promised to stay in touch!

Although we didn't make a lot of money.... we made a little, we had a lot of fun, we made new friends and we can't wait to do it again!


  1. Glad to know the last show was so successful! Eric and I did the Farmer's Market for a very short time and absolutely loved it. Making friends with fellow marketers and having repeat business was the best!! Thanks for directing me to your website, as well. Very interesting!

  2. Hi,
    Loved your site also...the pictures of Seattle and Pike Place Market made me long for the days I lived out there :)


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