Although you can't really call these farmers markets this time of year (I didn't see any produce at all in Helena, except for some potatoes at the Hutterites' table), there is still a fun atmosphere as craftspeople get a head start on their season.
A few food items made an appearance, notably breads and honey.
I find the bear-shaped jars of honey sweet in so many ways.
As for bread, one vendor adds extra ingredients to hers. Here you see dinner rolls made with joy.
Along with many versions of soap, jewelry, and pottery, there were some unusual items, including chainmail created by -- who else? -- the Chainmail Guy. He admitted that sales of his earrings and necklaces were more brisk than the full-body chainmail, but if you happen to want to order a suit, you can e-mail him at email@example.com.
Real estate prices ride the rollercoaster, but it might be worth it to shell out $25 for a bag of gravel. These particular bags also contain Montana sapphires. The woman selling them sets gems and says she has found some truly beautiful specimens in the bags she's looked through. If you aren't a gambler, plenty of polished and set gems are for sale at this table, too.
One potter couple, with clever designs, show their enthusiasm with their slogan.
Along with the usual tomato plants, herbs, and onion sets were some easy-to-care-for house plants. Shown here are the Piggy Back plant (leaves grow out from one another ad infinitum) and the Gold Fish plant (gold-colored flowers form colorful rows). According to the saleswomen, these plants actually prefer crowded roots and overwatering -- if only all gardening was so easy!
Although there wasn't much to eat, there was plenty of food for the soul. Musicians abounded, playing violins and guitars. Here, Madison and Sophia show their stuff. Although the girls had plenty of enthusiasm, passers-by gave them money with the stipulation that they promised to keep practicing. Check back at the end of the season!
April 24 to November 20
Fuller Avenue between Neil Avenue and West Placer Avenue
Saturday, 9 am - 1 pm
November 27 to December 18
Clark County Fairgrounds
Saturday, 10 am - 2 pm