Bringing Sustainability to Market

When Ruby first started bringing our farm goods to market, she was astonished by the amount of waste produced by packaging, sampling, and otherwise bringing our produce to the public. We are determined to bring the same commitment to sustainability that we practice at home to market. This post highlights a couple of things that we've done to make our market presence as sustainable as our homestead.

Sustainable Packaging

We use recyclable, compostable cardboard egg cartons. We can reuse the cartons if customers return them to us at market. 

We use recyclable, compostable cardboard egg cartons. We can reuse the cartons if customers return them to us at market. 

We encourage customers to return our empty glass jars when all the goodies are gone.

We encourage customers to return our empty glass jars when all the goodies are gone.

These compostable containers cost a lot more than the plastic version, but sustainable packaging is very important to us. Yep, we can reuse these too if customers return them!

These compostable containers cost a lot more than the plastic version, but sustainable packaging is very important to us. Yep, we can reuse these too if customers return them!

As a bonus for returning our glass jars, we'll give $1 off your purchase to thank you for your commitment to sustainability. Glass canning jars are infinitely reusable, so we don't want any of ours ending up in the landfill!

Sustainable Samples

We bought these adorable, reusable spoons. 

We bought these adorable, reusable spoons. 

We offer free samples at every market, and one of the most wasteful things we have seen so far are plastic "taster spoons." The first few weeks, we were disheartened by how many disposable spoons went in the garbage. Even on a slow, rainy market day, at least 50 people try our goodies -- that's more than 50 pieces of plastic going to the landfill every time we went to market. UNACCEPTABLE!

We're a sustainable farm, and that practice is profoundly unsustainable. After only two weeks (four markets), we bought these adorable, reusable taster spoons and have never looked back. We also eliminated the toothpicks we were using to sample the pickles, because you can sample a pickle perfectly well using a cute little spoon!  It's so easy to bring the dirty spoons home, wash and sanitize them, and reuse them.

We get a lot of positive feedback about our reusable spoons - people are frequently shocked when they pick up a spoon and exclaim, "It's a REAL spoon!"

We get a lot of positive feedback about our reusable spoons - people are frequently shocked when they pick up a spoon and exclaim, "It's a REAL spoon!"

Sustainable Waste Management

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No matter what we do, there will always be some small amount of waste from our market booth. Even if there was zero waste from our own samples and set-up, people strolling around the market deposit trash in whatever receptacle they can find, so we'll end up with something in our trash can no matter what. 

We use compostable trash bags -- we tried going bagless, but the trash at our booth tends to be sticky from jelly or honey (so that wasn't practical). We watch what goes in the trash can and look for ways to throw away fewer things by replacing disposable items with reusable ones.

Instead of buying coffee in a paper cup, Ruby brings her own washable mug to market each time. We use washcloths instead of paper towels to clean up messes at the booth (sampling + kids = spillage). 

We would love to hear what you are doing to make your home and work/business more sustainable. Please share what's working for you in the comments below!