Farmers Market: Massages, coins indicators of busy summer

The latest buzz around the Homer Farmers Market this week didn’t necessarily have anything to do with veggies. It was about the $1 per minute massages down at the Wilderness Wellness booth.

With this hectic summer, some time in Erik’s massage chair is a high commodity.

The summer has been a busy one for the Market as well. There is no way of knowing exactly how much money changes hands each week, but we do know how many of the market coins are sold. Market coins are what you purchase with a credit card when you don’t have enough cash on you.

At the last Market in July, $4,740 worth of Market coins were sold. In one day. 

This shouldn’t be surprising.  Last year more than $48,000 worth of Market coins were sold over the summer. Even though that’s not counting all the people paying with cash or check, you can start to see how much money might be going through the Market.  

The Market has to stay on its toes to keep up with this commerce. The coin system is nice for vendors because they don’t have to invest in credit card systems. But the Market has to make sure that it keeps enough coins on hand. 

These coins aren’t some party favors ordered online.  They are actually minted at the Alaska Mint and each time that the Market makes another order of coins, it chooses a different Alaska design for one side. The first side has the Market logo, but the other side has had four different designs. 

The first design in 2011 was of the Midnight Sun and 300 coins were made. The second run in 2013 had a bear and 100 made. In 2014, the coin had a whale’s tail and 300 made. To meet demand, a run of 100 was done recently with wolves and northern lights.

I’ve got to say, that’s a coin collector’s dream.

So head on down to the Market on Ocean Drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Saturday or from 3-6 p.m. next to buy, spend or collect a coin. 

And if the summer has you running ragged, that coin will get you 20 minutes in the massage chair.

Kyra Wagner is the coordinator for Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan — at leaste one of them.