By KYRA WAGNER
FOR THE HOMER NEWS
The Homer Farmers Market was bustling on opening day. The sun was shining, marimbas were playing and the booths were all full. The Homer Farmers Market is such an icon of this town that it may seem like it has been here forever. (For photos of opening day, see page 2.)
But how it has grown. I’m not necessarily talking about how it has a good 40 full booths practically every weekend through the summer or how full the parking lot is.
The Market has simply matured. For around eight years now there has been a tally of what produce is available each week at the Market. It has been fun to watch it evolve and change according to who shows up. Some bring greens, some harvest wild plants or mushrooms, some impress us with their greenhouse or high tunnel veggies.
Back in 2009, we had tomatoes at the first Market. It was a one-time event, thanks to an FFA project at the high school. That year there were about 20 items on the tally of plants and veggies available. Last Saturday we may not have had tomatoes, but there were close to 80 items on the tally.
The Market has more produce vendors than they did then, they open two weeks earlier than they did then, and more of the vendors have become seasoned professional farmers since then.
Lots of things have changed, upgraded and matured, like how there now is a sound system for the musicians. (Even though the marimbas will never need it.)
We also have seen those kids of vendors who needed to be entertained with kid’s activities reach high school. The Kid’s Activities are no longer run by a volunteer spouse-of-a-Market-vendor, but by the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies.
And now kids can have their own booths this coming weekend and on the first and third Saturdays throughout the summer to sell their produce or crafts at Kids’ Vending Day.
And there are Chef at the Market demos like the one this week from 1-3 p.m. with Anna Frost explaining the finer points of making ceviche.
So head on down this Saturday to the Market on Ocean Drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and see what’s growing.
Kyra Wagner is the coordinator of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan — at least one of them.