Farmers market opens with local produce, craft stands

Homer’s 2024 Farmers Market opened the summer season on Saturday, May 25 with a packed parking lot and busy turnout of customers ready to visit some of their favorite vendors, both new and old.

Homer’s Farmers Market “was established in 2000 to aid in the development of a sustainable local agricultural community for the benefit of the greater community of the Kachemak Bay area,” according to their website mission statement. Booths at the market include produce, handmade and recycled craft products, locally made botanical items, jams and jellies, baked goods and hot food carts. The number of vendors each week varies slightly but on opening day there were 42 vendors: ten farmers, 18 artists, four prepared food booths, nine cottage food booths and one miscellaneous booth, according to Lauren Jerew, market manager.

The Homer News spoke with some of the older vendors at the market about their experience selling at the market and how they work during the year to prepare for the summer.

Jam and Jelly

Marcia Roughly sells jam and jelly products at the market. She first started the year after the market opened. Roughly says she has been making canning products since she was 15 years old. “Back then I was just messing up my mom’s kitchen; I started making it to sell in 2000.”

Roughly has lived in Alaska for 55 years. She gets many of her ingredients from berry picking but there are also some items that she grows. “The ones made from grown products have the Alaska Grown label and the wild products have the Alaska Wild label,” she said.

Roughly said she will occassionally purchase harvested berries from other people. For the wild products, most are harvested on the Kenai Peninsula but she said she did go up to the Turnagin Pass area closer to Girdwood to pick crow berries.

Roughly said she starts her preserve production in January and makes roughly 4,500 jars for the season market. “Come summer, I’m harvesting, so I try not to be also producing all summer long,” she said.

Some of her products include marmelade butter, pumpkin butter, wild lingnon berry and her favorite, jalapeno-habanero apple.

Roughly’s clients chat casually with her with where they harvest berries across the state of Alaska.


In the booth next to Roughly is Scott Miller with Wooden Diamonds Jewelry, also a longtime market vendor. He sells wooden pendants and cut stone pendants as well as cut paper prints. He’s been making his products for about 25 years. He moved to Homer from Missoula, Montana, in 2001 and started selling at the market as soon as he got here.

“We moved to Alaska to Haines, first, and there was no work there and I just started carving, and one thing lead to another,” he said. He also crafts all winter long, some of which includes beach combing for sea shells.

“The market has grown bigger and bigger since it first started,” he said. There was a lull during the pandemic but it’s starting to come back again, he said.

“It started out almost strictly produce — that was kind of the idea — but they started adding craft vendors as they could fit them in. We have all the farmers who want to be here and there’s still space for vendors so craft is a big part of it now, too,” he said.

Miller explained that the market board meets once each month during the year, except during the market season, to plan for the year. “There’s not that much to talk about once were up and going but we have to get all the ducks in row to get things ready ahead of time,” he said.

Miller said the busiest part of the season is July.


Robert Heimbach with Mudophile Produce has also been with the market since its inception. His farm is 5 miles north of Homer on the bluff. Heimbach said he grows about 30 vegetables that he’ll be selling over the course of the market season. “Very often it’s two or three of each kind and it can be a long discussion. Mostly people just need to know that I grow a lot of vegetables,” he said.

Before the official market started, Heimbach had already been selling local produce in approximately the same community location.

“I am 64 years old and there is only one year of my life that I didn’t have a garden — it was the year I moved to Alaska in 1991,” he said. Heimbach moved here from New York and New Jersey and sold produce in Seldovia before Homer. He has also participated in commercial fishing in Prince William Sound.

At the market on Saturday, he was mostly selling potatoes and we paused our conversation while a woman purchased 5 pounds. “They’re always the same price, yes, and you can mix them as much as you like,” he tells her, showing her how to use the scale at his stand. He’s flexible — the client asks if she can just add a few potatos to raise cost from $9 to $10, even, “of course you can,” he says.

Heimbach noted that Shoni Fee and Sharon Roufa were also forceful and instrumental in getting the market started in Homer.

Berry production

Megan Long with Wild Wellness Farm is one of the newer vendors at the market. Long started her farm during the pandemic.

“I had been wanting to farm for a long time, bought a piece of land and just decided to go for it,” she said.

Long grows in two tunnels and has some outdoor space for perrenials such as berry bushes. Long’s farm focuses on strawberry and raspberry production. She also has apothecary line and harvests wild botanicals and turns them into wild body products such body oils, herbal extracts and teas.

“I also ferment local vegetables and collaborate with other farmers to make my kimchi and sauerkraut,” she said. Long said she also harvests right around her farm. “Everything is super bio-regional,” she said.

She broke ground for her farm in 2020 and 2021 was her first year in the market. Long has been in Alaska for 13 years, “nomadically in Seldovia, Halibut Cove, Anchorage and Soldotna but Homer for four,” she said. “I moved around a lot, but now I’m settled, have some roots in the soil.”

2024 market details

The 2024 season is open May 25 until Sept. 28 ​on Saturdays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and Wednesdays from 2-5 p.m. The market accepts cash and in-state checks with ID. Credit cards are accepted for market coins and are also useable at most booths. SNAP, WIC, and Senior Benefits are also accepted.

Marcia Roughly’s fireweed harvest from 2023 in preparation for the 2024 market season. Photo provided by Marcia Roughly.

Marcia Roughly’s fireweed harvest from 2023 in preparation for the 2024 market season. Photo provided by Marcia Roughly.