Yesterday was the first Christmas Market at the Farm. Truthfully, I did try a Christmas in the Country Market a few years ago, before our chef, before Netflix. I had an ornament table, a place to make wreaths and I believe we offered some cookies and hot chocolate. If I recall, there were not many who turned out. I remember thinking it was an idea that should be shelved. It was actually Chef Mckenna who suggested the Christmas Market this year. We could offer lunch and hot drinks outside by the fires, our breads and specialty items and Farm Flavours for sale. I agreed because I love the holidays, I love food outdoors by the fire and I am passionate about all the things we make here at the farm. And this year, unlike the last time -the delicious food of Chef Mckenna and more people than just Amy and me to make it a reality.
I made up a list of all the things I like to have over Christmas – tourtière, stollen, German cookies, shortbread, chocolate bark and handcrafted gifts and together (mostly the Chefs) we baked, packaged, assembled and decorated.
The decorating part was fun, hanging a Christmas tree that Shawn and I cut from the property, Deanna strung lights and Aubrey Rose tied on bowes. Chef worked tirelessly in the kitchen. We listened to Christmas Music and sipped mulled wine. Given my last Christmas Market experience, I thought we might have twenty guests come by, Chef suggested planning for fifty.
The day started out in a deep fog. In fact, I thought it was snow it was so dense. The temperature was pleasantly warm. I woke up early, started the fire inside and Shawn outside in the pizza oven and at the bon fire. The music turned on and hot drinks heated up. The kitchen lights were on from early morning as breads baked and delicacies finished up. We loaded up the wagon many times heavy with all our products and filled the tables. Everything looked beautiful and smelled delicious.
We hadn’t quite finished setting up when some cars came down to the driveway. Early birds I thought. Then a few more. Then a steady stream. Tourtiers and pecan tarts were gone before noon, our fresh breads in twenty minutes Aubrey Rose had a long snaking line to the register, Carlyle and Barb had trouble keeping the beverage pots full. Chefs Kevin and Dylan served up hot sandwiches from the pizza oven and Meghan delicious soup from the iron kettle by the fire. Chef Mckenna seemed to run back and forth to the kitchen more times than I could count cutting up fresh bread for more sandwiches and concocting additional batches of soup.
At the end of the day, we collapsed by the cook stove to debrief and calculated over 130 visitors came by the farm. The weather helped. It was a magically misty winter and warm day. People had the opportunity to walk the trails, warm by the fire, visit with the roaming chickens and goats. I had the chance between running back and forth to retrieve products, to chat with people who had come from near and from afar to see what it was like. It was a lovely perfect day. I will be better prepared for our next Christmas Market on the 17th and plan for a few more than twenty.