“Look at those beets! This is so exciting!”
I can’t help but smile when I hear someone getting all worked up about vegetables at the Homer Farmers’ Market. It lets me know that I’m not the only one who is divinely happy just because Bob Durr brought strawberries to the Market this week or because Jen and Paul’s green garlic smells so unbelievably vibrant.
Does that make me a Market nerd? So be it.
The Homer Farmers’ Market is a world unto itself. If you were to go back in time to the central square of the medieval village, this is what you would find: a bustling market.
This little village should have a shield or a crest, right? You can see the market symbol the minute you walk up to the info booth at the entrance. Designed by Scott Miller from the Wood Diamonds booth, this emblem is on the new Alaska Grown T-shirts.
It is officially summer. To grow produce for the Homer Farmers’ Market, however, you have to hit the ground running in the spring to take advantage of the short growing season.
This year most of the farmers at the market planted their gardens in May. Because of the cold winter, everyone seemed to agree that the ground was ready about two weeks later than normal. But the quantity and quality of produce at the market is not two weeks late. You can see that there are already vegetables available like carrots, broccoli and peas.
You could say this has been an odd year for weather. You probably won’t hear much complaining right now, however, since everyone is so glad to see this much sun after two terribly dreary summers in a row.
At last week’s Homer Farmers’ Market I talked to some producers who take note of the weather. Those who are depending on rain catchment to water their high tunnels are either starting to get nervous or already are buying water.
This weekend’s Homer Farmers’ Market will be the fourth one this season. That’s one month of markets already. It’s hard to believe, unless you are looking at the offerings. There are already turnips available, as well as kale, onions and a variety of greens.
Did I say greens?
I have to admit my bias towards the Homer Farmers’ Market. Sure, I have been writing weekly for ages extolling the virtues of our local market, but now I am seriously entrenched. It won’t be secret for long that my husband now has a booth there, too.
I don’t want to show too much favoritism, so let me tell you about some of the other booths that are well kept secrets first.
There is certainly no better way to kick off a Memorial Day weekend than with a bustling Homer Farmers’ Market. Last weekend was a stunning example of what the possibilities are for the first market of the year.
I can’t count how many people asked me before the market started, “Will there be any produce available?”
It has been a cold year, after all, so what could be growing?
Despite the hold that winter seems to be exerting on us this year, it is finally time again for the opening of the Homer Farmers’ Market.
Actually, Homer producers have been defying the cold for a couple of weeks now. Two weeks ago, Snowshoe Hollow Farm was down at the market site selling early greens and radishes and Alaska Stems cut flowers had tulips ready for Mother’s Day.
Spring is here in Homer and the gardeners are chomping at the bit to get outside and get in the dirt. I know because I’m one of them, but I also know because of the more than 60 folks who have taken gardening classes in the last few weeks. Growing your own food is super gratifying, helps the pocket book and feeds you well. What more could you ask for?
What a beautiful Saturday to have the Harvest Party. The crisp air filled with sun, the vendors’ booths overflowing with veggies, music from the stage, a line of people getting a taste of the Homer Farmers’ Market minestrone, stew, salads, breads and desserts. And Westley Newcomb announced as the turkey raffle winner.
The market is now officially transitioning. Though the craft vendors, kids’ activities and music won’t be around anymore, harvest is still in full swing.