Homer Farmers Market: Market offers a chance to meet and learn from growers

While many locals were up at Salmonfest, there were tons of people walking around the Homer Farmers Market this past Saturday who were only interested in our local farmers.

Many were in town for the Field to Vase dinner hosted by local peony growers. A delegation of Canadian flower buyers, also interested in this unusual agricultural niche in Alaska, were on a tour hosted by the Division of Agriculture. Another pair of visitors was visiting farms and farmers to shoot footage for a film about Alaska agriculture.

You may wonder why a person would come all the way here to meet a farmer. But as I walked around the Farmers Market and listened to the deals being made between customers and the farmers it becomes clear that face-to-face connections are super important.

If you like to juice celery everyday but have read about how celery ranks as one of the “Dirty Dozen” vegetables that are exposed to the most pesticides, then you want to know who grows your celery and what their practices use. You are not going to find anything better than locally grown celery. So it doesn’t surprise me when I see a farmer telling a customer, “Yes, I’ll give you a deal if you buy all of them.”

This weekend no one will want to miss the spectacular Zucchini Festival where you get to interact with farmers as well as the produce they grow in new and exciting ways. This event celebrates the coming harvest, National Farmers Market Week, and Alaska Wild Salmon Day. Fun for the whole family, zucchini car construction will start at 10 a.m., with a parade led by KP Brass Band, Zucchini Queenie crowning, and races at 1:30 p.m. You can even bring in your monster veggies to compete in the Largest Veggie Contest.

Interacting with the farmers at the Market is one of the biggest joys about the market. So head on down to Ocean Drive from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. this Saturday or 2 to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays to show off your veggies, or your veggie car building skills, or just to start up a conversation with a farmer.

Kyra Wagner is the coordinator of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.