Sometimes I forget how quickly the atmosphere at the Homer Spit changes after Labor Day weekend. Meeting friends out at the harbor as they returned to town life after a summer across the bay, I was reminded. You can find a parking space. You can find a table at a restaurant — if you can find a restaurant open.
That is the mark of the end of summer in Homer, the emptying of the Spit. It’s easier to drive around town. Events for community members rather than tourists start being held. The days are getting shorter.
The Homer Farmers Market winds down in some of the same ways. There is more parking available than at the peak of summer. Like the Spit, it feels like it is for more for locals rather than tourists. You can see all your favorite vendors without elbowing through a crowd.
But there are some ways that it differs from other businesses in town. The main difference is that, rather than being a picked-over, end-of-season selection, the farmers have more inventory than ever. The deluxe vegetables decorating their stalls are at their peak, bigger and in more quantity and variety. Buckets overflow with greens and kale, cabbages and onions, zucchinis and cucumbers, garlic and shallots, broccoli and cauliflower.
The shorter days will have their effect on the market eventually. This Saturday market will be the last time that you can chat with staff at the market. The central market booth will close down after this weekend. That means it is the last weekend to get market coins, market souvenirs or tokens for SNAP benefits.
Vendors will continue on Wednesdays and Saturdays like normal until the end of October. By then, most of the farmers will be ready to go somewhere warmer than the outdoor market. Then you know you will have to find their goods on the Food Hub or contact them directly.
So don’t let the short and cool days trick you into thinking the veggies have disappeared with the tourists. Come get your fill down at the Farmers Market this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m or Wednesdays 2-5 p.m.
Kyra Wagner is the coordinator of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.