A festival returns to the market

It has been an odd year for weather here in Homer, I can’t ignore it.

Neither can Marsha Rouggly. We were chatting at her booth down at the Saturday Homer Farmers Market about spruce needle rust. Marsha has been in Homer for decades and has never see so many trees affected by it so severely. She also has never had such a challenging time gathering good fireweed blossoms for her jelly. She isn’t even certain she will be able to get the amount of berries she needs to rebuild her jam and jelly stock. Everything is late or not producing at all.

This isn’t just some cynical look at the world, it’s simply reality. Marsha is one of the most grounded people I know. She makes her own jams and jellies, of course, as you can see at her booth. But she is just as likely to make her own sausage with from a pig she butchers or from a bear, caribou or moose her family has brought her. She has her vegetable gardens and high tunnels. She has gotten rid of the cow and goat she used to milk, but she still raises her own chickens for eggs. She even makes her own laundry soap.

There are so many skills required to break the dependency on the grocery store. It seems like there should be some way to honor folks who can teach us all to be more resilient. At the Market, we don’t give out awards, but we do have the Zucchini Festival. And, of course, Marsha was the Zucchini Queenie at the Zucchini Festival years ago.

It’s been years, thanks to COVID-19, since there was a festival at the Market. This year we will be having one again on Aug. 26. Yes, there will be the zucchini races and the regular zaniness. And there will be a Zucchini Queenie. But who will it be? It’s hard to choose from all the amazing royalty at the Market.

Come on down to the Market on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Wednesday from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and celebrate the most important local producers we have.