Monday, February 28, 2011

Atlanta Underground Market Recap

This past weekend was the first Atlanta Underground Market. I love the concept: giving experiences and unexperienced food sellers an opportunity to meet with large crowd and sell their food. It is considered a private event so those of us without a professional kitchen can also be included. It is a great way to increase your food to a large number of people in a short amount of time. And a great time to test out something new and to learn about how to better prepare or package your dish.

Unfortunately, I was unable to be a vendor at this show. I wanted to so very badly, but the organizer already had someone selling cake pops and I completely understand wanting to have a wide variety of foods. By the time I came up with another dessert that I was proud of, she had already filled the sweets quota. She did have some interest in my pancake puffs, but my husband had already made plans for that afternoon thinking it would be a good surprise since I had been so disappointed that I could not be a vendor this time around. So we were busy until just after the market started.

Not wanting to not be a part of this unique event in some way, I volunteered to help out. And I really enjoyed it. There were a wide variety of foods available, some vegan/vegetarian, some sweet, some just unique. And the turnout was amazing. It was great to sit back and watch everything that was going on. Michaela, the organizer, did a great job putting all this together, especially in just about a month's time. She loves food and it shows in her enthusiasm. This type of project needs someone with near endless energy and excitement and she is the perfect person for this.

Evidentally there were some complaints about the lines. Yes, some of the lines were a little long at times, but what would you expect? These aren't all professional cooks with their systems down pat. You can't go to something with a lot of people and not expect to stand in line at times. Think of how long you stand in lines waiting for the concession stand at a baseball game, those take forever and this is what they do for a living! So in my opinion, I have no problem with the lines, its just life!

There are always bumps in the road that cannot be anticipated. How many people have ever thrown a party where everything went just absolutely perfect? No one. Its not possible, even if you have thrown a hundred parties. The turkey cooks too fast or the guests drink all the wine and none of the beer, some people show up late, some people are just picky eaters and won't be happy with anything. Now imagine throwing a party for 1000 people. I am sure even the most experienced wedding planner is surprised more often than you would think.

Being a volunteer at this event was very educational. I got to watch how the vendors interacted with the people, which types of foods seemed to generate the most interest, and how the vendors presented their goods. All of which is extremely valuable information. I think it was all for the best that I was unable to be a vendor at this market. I would have been very overwhelmed and not know what to expect. Now that I have seen how things work, I will be much better prepared for any sort of market.

Hopefully I will be given the opportunity to be a vendor at a future Atlanta Underground Market. I will continue to develop my cake truffles, work on other sweet ideas that I have floating around in my head, and try to get my pancake puffs to work out better for me. I am excited about the pancake puffs because they are very different than a lot of things out there and the range of sweet to savory is a great asset. The more time I spend coming up with ideas, the more versatile I will be and the more options I have when applying to this and other markets, like the Lilburn Farmers' Market this summer.

I can't wait to see what happens next!

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