With April well underway, Farmington's farmers market will be starting up again for the 2021 growing season on Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon.
Terri Cox and her husband, local farmers who recently moved to the area from Arnold, opened a booth at the farmers market last year. Although new to farming, as well as Farmington, the couple quickly came to appreciate the farmers market for what it offers food producers and the community. And because of her background in marketing, Terri was asked to oversee the farmers market Facebook page and serve as spokesperson for the governing board.
Asked what she feels sets Farmington's farmers market apart from a typical retail food outlet, Cox said, "It is farmers. It is handcrafted items and it is homemade items. It's not what you would typically find in the store. We're growing it on our own land. We're not getting it out of state. It has to be grown on your own land, cultivated and worked by you, the farmer. The homemade items have to be done at your own facility for you to be able to participate."
The farmers market was co-founded in the early 2000s by a local farmer named Ron Hale. Following Hale's untimely death in a 2008 farming accident, Larry Blecker was selected to take over as president by the board.
"We run on average about 30 booths, but we have the capacity to hold about 40 — so there is room for people who make crafts or (farmers)," Cox said. "We have a large variety. My husband and I sell produce and we sell eggs, and others sell the same things.
"We have people that have livestock, so they sell pork or beef products. We have people that sell baked goods and people who do handicrafts like hand wood-carved spatulas and spoons and clay pottery. We have a guy who sharpens knives right there on site, so people can bring in their knives and have them sharpened right there at the farmers market."
Cox believes that, after spending so many months stuck inside the house over the winter months, the farmers market offers people an opportunity to get out and enjoy themselves a little while also developing a healthier lifestyle.
"I think it's something that is clean, fun and good for the family to do," she said. "They can get their kids out and see craftsmanship.
"They can see the farmers' dedication to farm work and how that comes about from seed to their dinner table. I think there's a side of it where people are looking for a healthier approach to putting food on their tables for their families. They're looking for organic foods and homegrown foods. It tastes better and its healthier for you. There's not so many hands. They know where their food, or their product, or their baked good is coming from. They're actually getting to meet those people there.
"Bring your family out. It's a great experience. It's something you can do on the weekend. There's no obligation to purchase. It's fun to get out and see all the different things people can make and produce from their own farms and homes. It's just a great tradition to add to your family. We want people to know we're here down at the VFW parking lot and we would love to have people come out and experience it."
Cox added that there are advantages for food producers and crafters who participate in the farmers market as well.
"Farmers are dedicated to the farmers market because there's a history there — from family, for some," she said. "For others, it's going back to the roots of being able to provide your own food or provide food to others, or a baked good, or a craft. We appreciate having the ability to sell to people in our community and make a little money too. Most of our booths sell on a cash-only basis, but there are some booths that can take debit cards."
The Farmington Farmers Market, located on the Farmington VFW parking lot at 814 E. Karsch Blvd, is open from 7 a.m. to noon Saturdays from now through October. The Wednesday Market starts the first Wednesday in May and is open 2-5 p.m. through the end of October. Anyone interested in having a booth can go to the Farmington Farmers Market's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/farmingtonfarmersmarket for more information on how to fill out an application.
Kevin R. Jenkins is the managing editor of the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-756-8927 or firstname.lastname@example.org
"We run on average about 30 booths, but we have the capacity to hold about 40 — so there is room for people who make crafts or farms." – Teri Cox