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)

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