40 vendors at grand opening of farmers market | TheUnion.com

40 vendors at grand opening of farmers market

Despite skies thickened with smoke, a farmers market that boasts local and regionally grown food and 40 vendors will hold its grand opening today from 8 a.m. to noon in downtown Nevada City.

Visitors will find food and craft booths set up on Union Street, the new Robinson Plaza and Calanan Park. Opening ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. in Calanan Park with local officials and farmers and music performances by the old-time string band, Ragged But Right.

“There’s some who planted an additional 40 percent of their crops just for this market,” said market coordinator and incoming city councilwoman Reinette Senum. She and others from the town’s downtown association have spent four months working with area farmers to plan the event.

“This is like a culmination a long time coming celebrating local farmers,” said Sandy Jansen, an organizer of the Local Food Coalition’s annual Come Home to Eat event held last weekend.

“There will be much more local and much more sustainable farmers. We think it will be much better as a result,” said John Tecklin, owner of Mountain Bounty who grows vegetables for a Community Supported Agriculture program on the San Juan Ridge. This is the first time in ten years that he has sold his goods at a farmers market.

Saturday’s market will feature a veggie valet booth from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. to allow shoppers to drop off their bulky purchases as needed, to shop or get some breakfast before picking up their packages later at the curb.

A fire safety workshop led by the Fire Safe Council will be held in the park along with live alpacas, massages and children’s activities. Participants are urged to bring their own coffee mugs and plates to support a zero waste objective. Dampened bandanas are recommended to reduce the effects of smoke inhalation, Senum said.

It’s not the first market for the town. Nevada County Certified Growers have held a Friday farmer’s market for three years on York Street. It is held from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

“As far as a weekend market in Nevada City this is a first,” Tecklin said.

Besides fresh produce and cut flowers, shoppers can buy staples including meat, eggs and bread or breakfast items such as hot coffee, French crepes and quiches.

“This market is about getting your basics met,” Senum said.

Farmers participating in the market believe strongly shopping locally, and some have rejected high paying jobs for the humble rewards of growing food. With rising prices of energy and fuel, community markets offer an opportunity to buy affordable locally produced food and other commodities, said Linda Chapman, who owns Blue Bird Farm with her husband, Leo Chapman, and partner, Tim Van Wagner.

“The community is really an important thing right now, especially because of the economic times,” Chapman said. To cultivate a deeper sense of community, the Chapmans hold a potluck every Thursday at their farm on Cement Hill Road, a gathering that attracts owners of River Hill Farm, Mountain Bounty Farm and Wild Grace Farm.

“We’re all working together rather than competing,” Chapman said.

This is the first year the couple has participated in a farmer’s market and will sell Asian greens, salad mixes and radishes. They offer a Community Supported Agriculture program, and each week 48 people pick up a box of fresh produce grown on their farm.

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