Thursday, July 10, 2008

Farmers' Market Visits in SEMO

Farmington Farmers' MarketLane and I traveled to southeast Missouri last week to visit farmers' markets in Cape Girardeau, Farmington, and Washington. Lane and I never cease to be impressed with Missouri's farmers' markets--each is unique and has great products and a friendly atmosphere to offer.

Lane and I began our day at the Cape Alternative Farmers' Market located on the fairgrounds in Cape Girardeau. After relocating several times, the market has settled at the large Southeast Missouri District fairground facility which is centrally located in Cape Girardeau.

Market manager Octavia Sharenborg was selling hydroponic lettuce of all varieties and informed us of the market's great new location. Several other vendors has fresh meat, homemade soaps and lip balms made from goat milk, and produce.

After visiting Cape, Lane and I traveled to Farmington to visit their bustling farmers' market. We could feel the friendliness radiating in the market as we approached, and you could tell the farmers' truly cared about what they were doing. Although the market recently mourned the loss of Ron Hale, the Farmington Farmers' Market was determined to keep up his tradition at the market.

The Farmington Farmers' Market has a Local Grower Certification program which guarantees the produce is from a producer in the area. Each vendor proudly displayed their certificate at the farmers' market for all customers to see. The Farmington Farmers' Market offered something for everyone: fresh produce, roses and bedding plants, and smiling faces from both the young and young at heart who are vendors at the market.

Lane and I then continued north to visit the Washington Tailgate Market. The farmers' market in Washington has a brand new more than $1 million facility for their farmers' market. They have a brand new drive-in pavilion as well as bathroom facilities and office space all provided through the Washington Chamber of Commerce.

Vendors in Washington were very knowledgeable of their growing procedures. We had the opportunity to visit with a producer who is soon to be organic and currently follows all the standards as well as numerous vendors with outstanding setups.

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