Farmers Market ‘Local’ tastes, looks and feels good—really good

The wind last Saturday took all the warmth the sun was providing right out of the air. You could tell what it was like standing in the shade of a booth at the Homer Farmers Market just by looking at Marsha Rouggly at her Sweet Berries Jam booth dressed in a scarf and full length down coat.

The cold has scared away the majority of our tourists, even some of the vendors. But this can be my favorite time down at the Market because it means that everything has distilled down to one word: local.

Of course that is the mission of the Market, to provide a space for folks to sell local, Alaska-made and Alaska-grown products. But “local” also is the word we use to denote someone who is familiar, known to be a person of this place. 

A friend of mine last weekend, grinning from ear to ear, said he had only purchased two cookies but had been fed by the conversations with friends from the moment he entered the Market. 

There is no place better to connect on all levels with what it means to be part of a community. I was asking farmers if they would be able to donate any veggies to be prepared for the Halibut Festival this weekend and the generosity I encountered was amazing.  Farmers aren’t raking in the big bucks and all their produce is the result of a lot of hard work, but they were happy to help out any way they could.

That’s community.

There are times when we see community members step up in a show of solidarity, like how people pulled together last weekend to rebuild the Burning Basket after vandals attempted to destroy it.  The Market is a reflection of this spirit every weekend.  A long run of community resiliency based on local economy, local food and local connection.

I have to say, “local” not only tastes good and looks good, it feels good.

But this community space only lasts the summer. So get your dose of “local” on Ocean Drive the next two Saturdays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. or Wednesday from 3-6 p.m. 

Kyra Wagner is the director of Sustainable Homer and the one of the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fans.