My, how the market has grown

The Homer Farmers Market started back in 1999. That first season had just a handful of vendors selling outside on tables in the parking lot. My, how it’s grown!

At the time, the original founders had that long-range vision of what they hoped it would grow up to be. One of those original vendors, Sharon Roufa of Two Sisters, had been impressed with the vigor and vitality of Amish markets. She could imagine a similar market here with locally grown products and homemade crafts.

Having a strong vision paid off. The few original organizers laid down the infrastructure in by-laws and policies (such as a required ratio of craft to produce vendors) that kept that vision intact as the Market grew. It also allowed for those truly special Homer originals, such as when local physicist James Donnelly used to host the “Ask a Scientist” booth.

Long-time vendors remember the creation of the first Market policy. It was inspired by members of the Homer Garden Club who didn’t like showing up at the 10 a.m. start time to find items had already sold out to early arrivals. So, the bell was born. To this day farmers can’t sell to customers until the bell rings, usually a cow bell carried by an ambitious youth honored with the task.

By the time I started hanging out at the Market 10 years ago, it was already a fixture in the community. I have seen it continue to grow and fill out that initial vision, adding more vendors, kids activities, chef demonstrations and services. It has grown hand-in-hand with our growing agricultural activities on the peninsula and we have seen many vendors create new businesses at the Market.

This week Homer will be hosting the regional representative from Johnny’s Seed company, a huge supplier of cool climate varieties. We are not only on their radar, but also the radar of many other local food movement advocates who are amazed at what is going on here.

Go see for yourself the outcome of that vision down at the Homer Farmers Market on Ocean Drive Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. or Wednesdays from 2-5 p.m.

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

More in News

A diagram presented by Teresa Jacobson Gregory illustrates the proposed extension of the Beachcomber LLC gravel pit and the impact it may have on the surrounding state recreation area. The red markers indicate the current gravel mining area, and the orange represents the area the extension may allow for mining if approved. (Image courtesy of Teresa Jacobson Gregory)
KPB Assembly to consider gravel-pit ordinance revisions

Proposed gravel pit ordinance follows Superior Court ruling that planning commission can deny permits.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education meets on Monday, Dec. 6, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
School board works to highlight students’ voices

Within the first hour of the meeting students would have up to five minutes each to address the board about any issue

Furniture awaits use in a bedroom at a cold weather shelter set to open next month on Monday, Nov. 22, 2021 in Nikiski, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Half of beds at Nikiski shelter are occupied

The shelter opened at the end of December 2021

A group of community members gather together on Thursday, Jan. 6 at WKFL Park to protest the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on the one-year anniversary of the attack. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
South Peninsula residents turn out to ‘defend democracy’

Members of the Homer community and the Unitarian Universalists of Homer gathered… Continue reading

This image available under the Creative Commons license shows the outline of the state of Alaska filled with the pattern of the state flag. The state on Thursday reported a modest population growth between April 2020 and July 2021. It's the first time since 2016 the state has reported a population increase. (
State reports small population growth

Net migration still negative, but not as negative.

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Health officials: Some monoclonal treatments widely ineffective against omicron

The new guidance comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

State Sen. Peter Micciche fields questions from constituents during a joint chamber luncheon on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022 at the Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
State Senate president lays out vision for upcoming session

Micciche seeks path forward on budget, looks to pass legislation on fishing permits, alcohol regulations

Snow covers the sign on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, at the South Peninsula Hospital Bartlett Street COVID-19 testing and vaccination clinic in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Local COVID-19 alert rate quadruples

State alert level per 100,000 people now is above 1,100.

Most Read