The excitement is about the food. The bustle of the Farmers Market seems like some kind of carnival, but it’s not about games or rides. There are no games or rides at the Farmers Market.
It’s about the food. As I approached the market last weekend, I saw a couple leaving with a bag of items from the market. But in their hands, carried like a special treasure, were carrots — the first carrots of the season.
It’s exciting to see the Alaska summer grow and change. It’s exciting to see what the farmers have pushed into production this early. It’s still just June, and we already have carrots, peas and buckets of cucumbers and ripe tomatoes at the Farmers Market.
At the same time, the folks from Oceanside Farm were madly crushing and crunching fresh rhubarb in their new machine to demonstrate for folks what a fresh rhubarb slushie tastes like. Rhubarb is a longtime local favorite because it acts like our first fruit of the year. Of course it’s not a fruit, but it’s the first thing that you can make pies and jams and jellies out of. Grown outside, a hardy perennial, rhubarb has been a staple here since the homesteaders.
Those homesteaders probably never dreamed of a tomato that wasn’t canned in June. Our farmers are pushing the season with high tunnels and lots of planning, work and effort.
But are you really thinking about supporting our local agricultural entrepreneurs, supporting infrastructure that improves our local food security when you’re at the Market? Probably not. It doesn’t matter if you’re thinking about it at all, but just enjoying a fresh carrot.
So head on down to the Homer Farmers Market on Ocean Drive on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and on Wednesday from 2 to 5 p.m. and see what the bustle is all about.
If you’re simply too busy and can’t stand the crowds, don’t forget to look on the Alaska Food Hub online Farmers Market. The ordering cycle starts on Friday. I can’t guarantee that there will be carrots there, but you can still get that farm fresh satisfaction.
Kyra Wagner is the coordinator of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.