Carrot Cumin Soup? Homemade soaps? Laser engraved heart shaped jewelry boxes?
Sure. It’s some art fair. You go, you walk past the folks trying to sell you pools and backyard awnings. You find some artisans selling their specialty catnip pouches and grandmothers selling the knitted caps and scarves. You go up to them, they suck you in and you almost feel obligated to buy something. You know these poor folks are being charged up to $300 for a space at this craft fair. More often when not, when attending these fairs, you’ll find people who slip in their non-craft national brand advertisements just to fill the spaces.
You probably didn’t go to the craft fair to find new siding for your home. Even if you did, would you pay to enter a craft fair that had some information sitting on a table that you could have easily retrieved from the internet? I go to fairs to see the works from the people who live around me. I want to see what they do when they’re not at their 9-5, what drives them, what their passions are. With the fair prices going up and up, so do the prices at the tables. I, like them, are interested in getting what I can for the cheapest I can. I can’t just afford to pay triple for something I can buy at the store simply because it was made by someone who lives nearby.
Therein lies the problem. Places that have empty space to meet charge the organizers, the organizers get a cut, then comes the cost for the vendors, their product, their time. If money is going to be lost, it’s going to be the vendors that lose. Vendors lose enough, and they’re staying home. Vendors stay home, you get those empty spaces filled with water jet beds and timeshare opportunities.
And then, there’s Community Market Day. I had a chance to catch up with Jessica Love, organizer of the CMD and found out that they are taking the model and turning it upside down. CMD operates out of an unsuspecting home, both downstairs and up are occupied by booths, yoga sessions, a kitchen serving hot winter soups and a cooler full of local meats. I parked nearby on their street, there were already lots of cars and it had just started. I entered into what was the yoga session, I tried to quietly find my way back out of this area due to it being a quiet zone. Whoops! I reentered through a hallway that brought me to the basement. Now this was the right place!
I came upon table after table selling various wares. I saw some faces I’m familiar with from the Free State Project, Bill Domenico with Liberty Loft Lighting was selling his laser engraved coasters, keychains and showing off what he can do with his specialty lasered products and 3D printed materials. Across from him was a woman selling artisan breads made with all natural ingredients. This is the stuff you couldn’t afford at Market Basket, but here was very reasonably priced. Showing that the market takes all types of vendors, there was a gentleman selling his household wares before he moved locations and created new and more exciting stock.
Community Market Day is put on by Jessica Love a local liberty lady and extremely energetic host and organizer. She works in tandem with Randy Clemens, author of The Sriracha Cookbook (and its Veggie Lovers edition) who also attained the space for CMD.
Having formerly been run by a democratic process, CMD split from the Shire Co-Op which now runs the Shire Bazzaar. According to most people I talked to, Jessica wanted to have some solid organization and took the reigns to make it happen. Liberty folks in New Hampshire recognize the power of competition, and CMD is becoming a powerhouse in that arena. I hope to someday soon make it to a Shire Bazzaar and write about my findings there. For now, I was in love with what this CMD had to offer.
Libertarians and liberty folks realize the fundamental right one has to sell their wares without interference of government. So many individuals have talents and artistic abilities that never see the light of day because of the red tape associated with paying taxes, collecting taxes, attaining licenses, permission slips, armed guards for the crowds. All of those things simply stall the process of money from hand to person selling product or service. CMD doesn’t bother with it and allows its vendors to sell what they want to sell. What its vendors want to sell are typically all natural, homemade, and locally sourced. No buyers are being sucked in, and no one is being forced to purchase what they don’t feel comfortable purchasing. No required labelling, it’s caveat emptor.
Local foods are also getting to be quite popular. If you’ve ever had fresh eggs that you didn’t buy at Wal-Mart, you know what I’m talking about. Big fat eggs, full of flavor from Kate at Wild Heart Farmstead. Rocky would have done well to down a few of these before he went on a run. There were at least two vendors selling fresh eggs, but another vendor was holding all the cards when it came to meats. Bardo Farm, a local group that tends to animals and sells packages of fresh meats all year round, was offering sampler portions to try out their various beef, pork, chicken. What they offer you can’t get at the big box stores were items like Rabbit, Duck, Goat, Quail eggs, and any portion of a pig you can think of including tongues. Not for me, but I’ll eat all the bacon I can get.
But people selling their wares wasn’t all that this Community Market Day offers. There were also lots of services being done upstairs. At 11am there was a yoga session that I interrupted like a bull in a china shop. By noontime when the market opened up, the yoga was over and in came the good Dr. Tarrin Lupo with his magic hands of adjustment. We had spoken and he had gone over many benefits to having an adjustment for my expecting wife, which I hope to take him up on in one of the coming CMDs. Other services included hypnotherapy, orthopedic bodywork, and therapeutic massages.
And then there’s even cooked foods! Chef Gail was serving up terrific Cumin Carrot soup and a rich and hearty chili for the folks in attendance. Freshly made right there in front of you. You couldn’t get better eats than this, and believe me, this food is a reason in itself to attend CMD.
I had to get back downstairs before I eat the place out of business. I found there was another whole room of vendors. A neighbor of mine, Tabitha Garland was selling locally sourced cosmetics made with all natural ingredients. Soon enough, people will be sick of buying the garbage at Sephora and hit up the CMD to try out her Earth 2 U products.
All of the vendors are very friendly and welcoming. Most of them were more content discussing the events of the world than talking about their products. It made for a comfortable atmosphere and no pressure to push you into a sale. This was truly seeing artists showing their talents and passions.
I had to stop by the Shire Soaps stand and check out the creations of Hershel Nunez and his husband Normand. Every soap was a winner, smelled wonderful and with all natural ingredients. I had to purchase me a “Shire Man” soap. Now I can scrub away that Massachusetts flavor I was born with and become a real Shire Man!
Hairstylists were in the house, giving people fresh looks. Paleo-To-Go was serving up bulletproof coffee and for a good cause as half of the proceeds were to be donated to Hope on Haven Hill an organization providing support to pregnant women and their families who are struggling with addiction and substance abuse. These folks go to the mat to help women continue their sobriety and they’re always in need of support, please consider slipping them a few bucks. It was my first experience with bulletproof coffee, but it energized me and was smooth as anything I’ve ever had.
The vendors didn’t just take cash, they also accepted Bitcoin which is becoming more and more popular for easy peer to peer transactions. It’s just another way that CMD is stepping up from the traditional craft fair mentality. Which led me to wonder, how does CMD get paid? Jessica explained that part of turning the model on its end is allowing vendors the freedom to come and make their coin, but to continue to do so, they are encouraged to ensure that the organizers and property owners get something for their hard work and skills. Seeing how CMD continues to grow and expand, to areas other than Manchester including Portsmouth, Keene and Laconia, I expect that the organizers will continue to be incentivized to grow with the group and continue to push the envelope to create a market that can appeal to so many different types of people.
To find out more info check them out on Community Market Day’s Facebook page and be sure to watch their informational video below! Also check out a great site I found with an excellent article from FSPMovers.com.
By the way, I’m not being paid or compensated for my post on Community Market Day, I went and spent my own money. I prefer to do so in order to maintain my credibility and so that my readers can know that I’m not swayed into providing a critique either positive or negative. With CMD, there were no negatives that I could find that were noteworthy enough to mention. Well, maybe a person selling bacon pops. Perhaps I can fill that void at a future CMD myself.