How We Roll

This month, my mobile kitchen was finally completed, and passed its initial inspection with flying colors. Since then, I’ve been getting used to all the new luxuries it provides: air ventilation, protection from the elements, and running water, to name a few. I thought I’d share a typical day selling at the downtown Farmer’s Market to give you a feel for what it’s like on my new set of wheels.

Early Times

5:00 a.m.: I wake up, get ready, and head to the kitchen.

5:30 a.m.: I arrive at the kitchen. I turn on the fryer and oven, and while I wait for those to heat up, I gather all the supplies I’ll need that aren’t already in the trailer (like my cash box, credit-card reader, and cell phone). If the trailer isn’t already hooked up to my truck, I take care of that, too.

6:00 a.m.: I fry and bake all the pies I’ll sell that day at the market. The number I make will depend on the weather, what other events are happening that day, and how many pies I sold last year around this time. Sometimes my estimates are spot-on, sometimes not. I bag and label all the pies before heading out.

8:00 a.m.: I transfer pies to the warmer in the trailer, make sure everything is secured, and head to the Farmer’s Market.

8:15 a.m.: I arrive at Market Square downtown, park the trailer in its designated spot, unhitch it from the truck, make sure it’s level, and plug it into the city’s power.

8:30 a.m.: This is my favorite time, right before the market begins. I display our menu for the day, play some music, chat with other vendors as they set up, and enjoy the morning weather before it starts getting hot.

9:00 a.m.: The market opens. We stay steadily busy selling pies, making change, chatting with our awesome customers (some are pictured here), and crossing out flavors on the menu when we run out. We sell until closing time or we run out of pies–in which case we’ll walk around and do a little shopping.

2:00 p.m.: The market ends. I pack everything up, chat with fellow vendors, hitch up the truck, and leave.

3:00 p.m.: I park the trailer at the commissary, give it a thorough cleaning inside, hose down the outside, and lock ‘er up. Doing this deep-clean after every Saturday market helps me make sure I’m keeping it spic and span.

4:00 p.m.: Finished for the day! Time for a nap.

Part of the Marketing Mix

Market day is almost a 12-hour affair from start to finish, but it goes by quickly. While much of our business is now centered around catering events, I still love this weekly gig because it gives me a chance to connect with tons of customers in one day. I always meet new people but get to see our regulars as well. And I’m always so beat by Saturday evening that I get an amazing night’s sleep!


Photos by Shawn Poynter and Dale Mackey

Dale Mackey
Dale Mackey

Dale Mackey is a Chicago native who moved to Knoxville in 2007 and has no plans of leaving. She spends most of her time making and selling fried pies, but when she finds a free moment, she enjoys writing, eating, playing with her cats, playing with her husband, and going on adventures. She's named after cowgirl Dale Evans, and hopes she does her namesake justice.

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