Saturday, September 13, 2014

Emigrant farmers market: building a community


Market manager Joyce Johnson works hard to nurture the community that revolves around and within the tiny Emigrant farmers market, with an average of 10 vendors and a very big heart.

I wrote about this market during its 2011 season. In some ways it looks the same, but in other ways, it has grown.

"We're seeking to develop a new habitat for a community gathering," Joyce told me today. She deliberately named it the People's Market so anyone in the Paradise Valley could participate, even during the early part of the season when produce is still ripening. She's considering extending the market during winter, wondering if vendors could use the local church hall.

"We're small now," Joyce conceded, "but big-hearted."

I enjoy visiting this market. It feels warm (even in the cold sun of mid-September) and welcoming. Vendors are happy to talk to you about their wares or even about things that interest them.

If you want to learn about yin and yang, ask the woman selling tiny cherry-size "yang" plums from her garden.


If you don't know anything about solar cooking, fireless cooking, or how alive water is, have a chat with Greg, who sells Sunovens and essential oils. The 3 pounds of potatoes in the Sunoven will be done by the time the market closes at 1 pm.


Eighty-year-old Richard will give you his recipe for Dutch oven potatoes if you prefer them cooked traditionally, plus he'll add a plug for cultured vegetables, like homemade pickled beets and sauerkraut, that "do good work on your intestines." Handily, he has plenty of homegrown potatoes, beets, and cabbage for sale, along with squash and other good-looking vegetables.




James is a painter, but he comes to market to share the abundance from his garden. Today he had amazing heirloom tomatoes, garlic, kale, and lettuce.




But the prize was the tub of foot-long, tender Tyria cucumbers. Each seed costs $1.20, and so each cucumber sold for $4, but every bite is a delicacy. James handed out samples of dried cucumber, which was a treat in itself.



You can already see what an amazingly abundant market this is, and I've only mentioned 4 vendors!

Today there were also jewelry, shawls, Native American artifacts, and Yankee Bob's cookies. You can read about Yankee Bob in my 2011 blog post about the market, but now he has extended his selection to include gluten-free and vegan items.


Oh, yes, and some fun wood items.


Stop in soon and get to know these friendly people.

Emigrant People's Market
Lawn of St. John's Episcopal Church, across from Wildflour Bakery
Saturday, 10 am - 1 pm
June 14 - October 25 (weather permitting)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Red Lodge farmers market: a cold wind blows


The pumpkins at today's farmers market in Red Lodge had loads of personality -- all ready for Halloween.

A cold wind blew around tomatoes, peppers, bread, and soap, but that didn't discourage shoppers, who crowded around their favorite vendors, eager to take home the bounty. The remains of an early snow lingered and everyone had to bundle up, but it was still a fine day for a market.


Colorful heirloom tomatoes from Wholesome Foods farm made a pretty picture.


Piles of peppers from Carbon County Growers in Bridger shone in the sun. You can freeze small peppers as is, or seed and chop up the bigger peppers, and put them all in the freezer to spice up winter meals.


A long line formed almost immediately after the opening cowbell for Hope's homemade baked goods. Difficult decisions had to be made about whether to take a brownie brimming with frosting, or a crisp baguette, or a cinnamon roll the size of your head. Or maybe one of each . . .


There was corn.


And honey.


And amazing tamales made fresh by Rosa.


Kenny's Double D Salsa, including the delectable mango and pineapple version, lived up to its tagline, "Dangerous & Delicious." Kenny said he's had people return within a few minutes to buy more because they ate it right out of the container in their car. Kenny makes 1500-1600 pints each month to sell at stores in Billings and Red Lodge and another 225 pints each week to supply fans at the farmers markets in those towns.


Debra, of La Naturals, was selling soap and other natural skin care products. I was attracted by her unusual combination of honey and dandelion, among others. She was eager to share her knowledge of natural products, explaining that she sources locally whenever possible, using honey and beeswax from Sunshine Apiary in Columbus, goat milk from a farm in Fromberg, and violets from a neighbor's garden. I learned a lot from her about taking care of my skin with nature's ingredients.


It's getting toward the end of farmers market season here in eastern Montana, with 2 market days left in Red Lodge. And while there may already be snow on the ground, don't let that discourage you from picking up some fresh produce and other necessities. The vendors offer an abundance of goods, and they are always happy to see you.

This time of year it's an especially pretty drive south to Red Lodge, with snowy mountains to frame the view. Take some time to enjoy it.


Red Lodge Farmers Market
Lions Park, between E. 7th & E 8th on N. Villard
Friday, 3:30 pm - 6:30 pm
June 27 - September 26

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Bogert farmers market: signs of good things

I love to walk around farmers markets and look at signs. Most of them are handcrafted; all promise good things.

This sign shows you where to find delectable Le Chatelaine chocolate! Bozeman's best!


Another sign was so pretty, I just stopped and stared. "We're so lucky to have a nice artist," the vendor told me proudly.


Each farmer displays a sign, even though people would buy their fresh, tasty vegetables anyway.


These signs announced the source of the cheese: sheep.


The sign for these lovely flowers was really superfluous, but just in case . . .


Bone, antler, eggshell, fossilized mammoth tusk, tagua nut . . . each a canvas for scrimshaw art. Exquisite.


Nana Sue makes delectable cookies for every holiday. Her signs say so.


And some things just don't need a sign. Like this happy family bagging corn for customers.


Find more signs at the 
Bogert Farmers Market
Bogert Park, S. Church Ave., Bozeman
Tuesday, 5 pm - 8 pm
June 3 - September 23