This week on Tent Talk we are joined by Candread Gadaga, farmers’ market vendor and musician! On this episode Candread tells us about his journey from playing music at the farmers’ market to starting his own hot food vendor business to packaging his own sauces for sale.
Finding inspiration at the farmers’ market
Originally from Mozambique, Candread Gadaga moved to Boise, Idaho in 2000 where he lived for 11 years before moving to San Diego to pursue music. He stayed busy playing guitar and singing in his band while also working at a restaurant and for the city of Imperial Beach. It wasn’t until Candread’s band was invited to play music at the farmers’ market that he considered starting his own food business.
As a musician at the farmers’ market Candread had a behind the scenes look at the way things operated. He befriended shoppers and vendors and started to ask a lot of questions. Though he was unsure about all the hoops he’d have to jump through to become a vendor, Candread was positive this was his next step. “We always think things are difficult to do, but when life pushes you into a corner, you always find a way to make things happen.”
Overcoming vendor obstacles
As it does with most vendors, it took Candread a little while to find his footing at the farmers’ market. Shoppers had to become acquainted with the flavors of traditional Mozambican food, which is heavily influenced by Portuguese cuisine. Candread also had to sort out his cost of goods and menu offerings.
“My biggest challenge when I first started was that I had a big menu,” explains Candread. Because he had so many items on his menu, he often had excess food end of the day. After a period of trial and error, Candread decided to downsize his menu. He also trimmed his shopping list to 10 quality ingredients that could be used in numerous dishes.
Another obstacle Candread had to overcome was developing a metric for forecasting for each market. Before each market he does a rough calculation to help him determine how much food to bring. He starts with a rough estimation of how many people will visit the farmers’ market that day. Then he assumes that 60-70% of those people are going to purchase hot food. He then divides that number by the total number of hot food vendors.
While this isn’t an exact science, Candread is able to use it as a base estimate. And just to be safe, he brings some extra ingredients to cook on-site in case his calculations are off or it’s an especially busy day.
Where can I listen to Candread’s full episode of Tent Talk?
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Do you have a farmers’ market question you’d like us to answer on air? Got an idea for a future episode topic? Is there someone you think we should interview? Please let us know!