I tend to walk around the Homer Farmers Market in a daze like a child surrounded by shiny objects.
It just so happens that I am fascinated by shiny objects. The market coin program has always been a favorite of mine. If you show up at the market without cash, you can go up to the central table and they will run your credit card and give you coins to spend only at the market. These coins are actually minted at the Alaska Mint and have the market logo on one side and an image of Alaska on the other.
Besides being just handy to use at the market, these make great gifts, much better than any gift card, as well as good souvenirs. And if you happen to be a coin collector, I would like to point out that a limited number of each design was printed, no more than 500 and usually around 200, so it may just be worth your time to collect all seven designs. The most recent coin was made for the 20th anniversary of the market and has original art on both sides of the coin. If you are a serious collector (or know one), you can ask for one still in the case. A few were saved to be in mint condition.
When the vendors cash in the coins with the market manager, we get the chance to see a glimpse of how much money is flowing through this little economic engine. The first market of the season we had more than $1,500 of coins exchanged, and we have had as much as $3,400 in one market this summer.
And to make sure that economy keeps going, the market wants everyone to feel safe and healthy while shopping. For that reason, the market requires the vendors wear masks during the first hour of the market to so that customers can visit comfortably. Thanks to all the customers who also wear masks to uphold this standard for the economic well-being of the vendors.
Come on down to the Farmers Market on Ocean Drive this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. or Wednesday from 2-5 p.m. and see what shiny object catches your eye.
Kyra Wagner is the coordinator of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.