Pin It
Favorite

Fresh And Fabulous 

Its farmers market time

click to enlarge art16567.jpg

Farmers markets are popping up like Starbucks all over the country. This phenomenon reflects a happy union of small-scale farmers willing to grow and urban populations eager to eat fresh produce. Across the Inland Northwest, our farmers markets are opening back up for the new season.

In North Idaho, we don’t think it’s a here-today-gone-tomorrow fad. We’re proud that our Kootenai County Farmers Market is beginning its 25th season.

Over the years, the managing board of producers has hammered out a workable system of tough rules with reasonable exemptions. Despite the diverse and independent nature of the players, the market hums like a beehive.

The market’s mission is simple and straight-forward — to foster local, family-owned farming and arts and crafts.

The word “local” is huge. “Locally grown” or “locally made” mean that nothing’s been over-packaged and trucked in from thousands of miles away.

And that’s the first rule of the market: Food and plants must be grown locally and sold by the producer.

Find a Market

Drag and zoom into the map to find a farmers market near you.


View Inland Northwest Farmers Markets in a larger map. Are we missing your market? Email us at [email protected]

Crafts must be made and sold locally by the artisan. If you have a booth, it is not enough to supply the goods — you have to be there on market day to sell them.

That’s the personal human touch of the market.

In our modern world, no connection exists between the ready-made clothes we buy and the child who pushes the cloth through the sewing machine somewhere across the planet. The farmers market reverses that anonymity. The producer deals directly with the buyer. The buyer gets to know, and becomes friends with — you’ve got it — the producer.

And the power of local applies to that attractive, pine-filled corner at Prairie Avenue and Highway 95 in Hayden. Thanks to local property owners Steve and Judy Meyer, we have a beautiful home for the market.

If you draw a 100-mile radius around that spot, you’ve outlined the market’s idea of “local.” They only sell goods from within that radius.

And that’s exactly how “local” and “fresh” are almost synonymous. “Fresh” suggests that the food we buy is safe to eat. Several producers are certified “organic,” and almost all are practicing “organic” techniques. As such, their products are healthy and free from contamination by insecticides and other chemicals.

But is it really sane to leave our cozy homes on a Saturday morning and drive many miles to find a tomato plant we could easily buy at Shopko, just a few minutes away? Are we crazy?

I say we’re intentional. First of all, market day is a social event. We’ll run into people we know. A great pull of the market is the chance to bump into friends while finding that tomato plant. And everyone talks to everybody else while standing in the Killarney Farms checkout line.

Tomato plants from Susi, the tomato lady, have done very well in my garden and made wonderful bruschetta and tomato sauce. Susi and her counterparts have given give us advice on how to make our plants grow better. They’re experts. And we trust their advice, because — remember — they’re our friends from years past.

We can also sit down and listen to music and drink our coffee. There’s always music at the market and always espresso for sale — a good thing since we, as a species, are addicted to coffee.

It’s a weekly celebration of the verdant earth of summer, and if the sun is shining, it’s heaven on earth.

This year the market’s directors are introducing some changes to make the experience more producer- and consumer-friendly. For one thing, opening has been moved from 8 am to 9:00. This means that Ellen Scriven and Paul Smith of Killarney Farms near Harrison, for example, can start their delivery run at 6:30 instead of 5:30 am. Perhaps in September they won’t have to set up in the dark.

For the first time, the market is equipped to take food stamps. This will open up access to affordable, fresh vegetables for eligible food-stamp recipients. An area with activities for young children is another new addition to the market.

Markets are all about community and community building. The folks at the Kootenai County Farmers Market have known that all along. They built a community of producers in 1986 and have been perfecting it year by year. Part of their stability comes from a board of directors, each of whom is a producer, with an investment of time, tools and passion in the enterprise.

The passion is contagious, and a happy horde of consumers will find their way to 95th and Prairie throughout the summer and into fall.

And for the “what’s for dinner” crowd, the smaller but very welcome spin-off, the Downtown Coeur d’Alene Market, will be open each Wednesday from 4 to 7 pm through Sept. 28.

  • Pin It

Latest in Comment

  • Hiring Among Friends
  • Hiring Among Friends

    What's wrong with this picture? Todd Mielke wants the top job in Spokane County and his colleagues get to decide
    • May 20, 2015
  • Walking to Where, Exactly?
  • Walking to Where, Exactly?

    Publisher's Note
    • May 20, 2015
  • Too Early to Tell
  • Too Early to Tell

    What's your opinion of Emily Farris? Hint: You probably shouldn't have one yet
    • May 20, 2015
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
The Battle of Deep Creek

The Battle of Deep Creek @ Medical Lake

Through May 25

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Mary Lou Reed

  • Grading the Session
  • Grading the Session

    The Idaho Legislature made some wise decisions in Boise, but they still get a "C" for "crazy"
    • Apr 22, 2015
  • Defending the System
  • Defending the System

    The American criminal justice system guarantees a defense for all; dedicated professionals make it happen
    • Mar 25, 2015
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • This Old House

    If it could talk, it could tell stories of three generations, along with a lot of griping from neighbors
    • Apr 29, 2015
  • On a Roll

    Just-announced reforms do little to safeguard Spokane against the danger of oil trains
    • May 6, 2015
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Comment


Briefs


Publisher's Note


marijuana


education


© 2015 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation