Saturday, July 10, 2010
Farmers' Market Season is Here!
My baby Italian cocozelle with flowers on the way to the market
The Ramah Farmer's Market started several weeks ago, and Gallup's Farmers' Market began this past Saturday, July 10th. The market in Ramah is the larger of the two with 1-2 dozen craft and produce vendors, and very active group of volunteers. It's easy to keep up with the numerous events and resources in the Ramah area by reading their bi-monthly newsletter, The Ramah Farmers' Beet. At the height of the harvest season in August, the RFM attracts 350+ visitors/day. My favorite items from there are Windy Ridge goat cheese (look for the lovely Jesse Lee Grey sitting on the south side of the horseshoe with two nondescript coolers behind her table) and the Nolo bait (organic grasshopper-cide) for only $3/pound!!! It runs from 10-1 pm, next to Backwoods Pizza on Ramah's west-end. I'll take pictures next time I head south.
The early shoppers equally splitting up the carrot harvest
In comparison, Gallup's Farmers' Market is no slouch. Sure, it's not as big yet, but each year it is growing and last year's market days had an impressive variety of produce, baked goods, crafts, and information booths. This year's season started on July 10 and will continue through September, I think. A nice addition to the market this year is the Work in Beauty, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) booth where they'll be distributing CSA shares and selling extra produce.
Cynthia of The Coffee House bought half of that day's garlic
After sleeping fitfully all night in anticipation of the first market day, I awoke around 7 ready to start harvesting, only to see that it was raining. On my list of items to harvest where radishes, large green onions, carrots, purslane, spinach, collard greens, baby zuchinni, male squash flowers, mint, rosemary, and the garlic was already pulled.
Top to bottom: Baby finger, Danvers, Scarlet Nantes
The onions, carrots, and radishes took some time to wash and tie into bundles and so I left home at 8:45 without any purslane, spinach or collard greens in tow:( [Blog editing note: I just saw a Lance Armstrong RadioShack ad that said it's not cool for guys over 30 to use emoticons. WTF, and when did he get so awesome?]
Carole Palmer (market manger) and the sold-out table of Sunrise School for Ecological Living, Fort Defiance, AZ
I'm not sure whether the market officially opens at 8:30 or 9, but when I arrived there was already 2 booths set up and already sold out of their onions. Within 10 minutes I had sold all the garlic and carrots. Get there early! Though, Mrs. Butler generally shows up later (usually 10 ish) with a huge variety of produce (this week she had eggs, turnips, cole-crop starts, and woven baskets benefiting the market). Paul and Mary-loo of the Sunrise School had radishes, greens, pepper transplants, and onions grown by students at their school in Arizona.
The CSA crew in a rare moment of chilling
Here are the prices I settled on: garlic ($1/head); onions (10/$1); carrots in a bunch(5/$1); mixed radishes (10/$1); mint ($1/bunch); baby zucchini and squash flowers (4/$1). By 10:20, I had sold everything and made the most rewarding $45 ever! Of course, it's not about the money; best of all I met many great new people and old friends in that shady walkway downtown. In theme, the best over-head saying of the day was, "I don't spell 'profit' with an f."
The Butlers stand
In all, the first market day of year in Gallup went well. The quantity and variety of produce available will expand greatly over the next month as warm season vegetables come into season. Carole Palmer mentioned the WIC food assistance program will be up and running in a few weeks attracting many low-income and elderly customers to the market. And hopefully some of the usual growers and vendors from the Vanderwagon area will return to the Gallup Farmers' Market, opting for Ramah this week. I'll have a steady supply of onions, shallots, and garlic at my stand each week, in addition to the rotating menagerie of warm season crops coming into season.