Do you folks have any idea how spoiled we are here in Western Nebraska? We have access to fresh, local food all year long. That is amazing in a climate as harsh as ours! We have growers that make such great usage of high tunnels and storage areas that even in February you can have fresh produce to eat. Because of the folks at the greenhouse at Aulick’s TLC we even have yummy little cherry tomatoes in the dead of winter.
I moved to Western Nebraska from Western Montana. Where I lived there, the farmers’ market culture was amazing. BUT, they didn’t have a year-round market! Sure they have a crazy number of markets on Saturday morning all summer long, but they didn’t have a winter market. A town of over 60,000 and it just wasn’t there. That helps to show me just how lucky we are.
We have an incredible community that supports each other and supports our farmers. How great is it that one can put a meal together entirely of local goods? Have you tried it? I challenge you to try it and report back on how you did. We still have the month of March with the Scottsbluff Winter Farmers’ Market and most of the vendors are happy to sell to you mid-week or on off weeks as well. Don’t forget that Hometown Harvest in Mitchell carries local goods from many of the area vendors as well.
Guess what? It is only 30 days until the first day of Spring! Can you believe it?! That means your vendors are planning market gardens, ordering seeds, and many that raise livestock are starting to see babies hit the ground. Late winter and early spring means that a farmer’s season is starting to pick back up. Not that the winter hasn’t been busy. Most of our vendors sell goods throughout the winter at the Scottsbluff Winter Farmers Market or at Hometown Harvest in Mitchell. This means they are still maintaining storage areas, high tunnels, and animals. If you think you don’t like the winter just imagine while you are curled up next to a warm fire your local farmer is probably outside in insulated coveralls tending animals. While it is hard work it is also rewarding work.
One of the best ways to show your appreciation for this work is to shop your local farmers’ market and your local businesses that purchase from your local producers. This helps keep your farmer in business for that summer market season as well.
Did you know that you can find lots of local produce at all kinds of local businesses?
Here is a list that I personally know you can find at least one item from a local producer. Please comment with any additional ones you know of.
Cappuccino and Company in Scottsbluff
Panhandle Co-op in Scottsbluff
The Mixing Bowl in Gering
Fresh Foods in Gering
Hometown Harvest in Mitchell
Curtis Corner in Mitchell
I hope your new year has been great so far! Christmas has come and gone the new year is here and your market manager is busy updating things for the new season.
Have you checked out the City of Scottsbluff call for artists? They are looking for an artist to design and install bike racks around the downtown areas. What a great improvement to our downtown area that will be! One of the spots for a rack is our own mini-park, so those of you that like to ride your bike to market will soon have a place to park your bike.
Thank you all who participated in our online survey. I love being able to take your great ideas to the Downtown Association of Scottsbluff. Hopefully we can get some of those ideas implemented this year.
Keep an eye out for updated vendor information as we get closer to the summer market season. Currently several of our summer vendors have been keeping busy at the Scottsbluff Winter Farmers’ Market at Aulick’s TLC on Ave. B in Scottsbluff. Make sure to visit them and let them know what you hope to see them bring to the summer market. This is the season to be ordering seeds and planning that market garden so if you have a favorite vegetable let your farmer know. It is one of the great perks of knowing your farmer. Also, one of our vendors, Meadowlark Hearth, has C.S.A. (community supported agriculture) sign-ups open for their February through April share. It is a great deal for fresh local foods in the middle of winter. You can find more information on Meadowlark’s Facebook page or their website where you can also order organic seeds for your own garden.
Only a few months before our summer market season opens up again! Until then, stay warm.
As we are coming to the close of our season at our downtown location it is time to see how our season went. Would you be so kind as to take a moment and tell us how we did? There are only five questions so it won’t take long. We want our market to be the best market we can make it and this will help.
Thank you and don’t forget to join us for the last two downtown markets of the season. This Saturday the 20th and next Saturday the 27th 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
We have some vendors that won’t be at our September 13 market and we have a few new vendors so I thought a list is in order.
Vendors that WILL be at market on September 13:
Beehaven Farm Roadside Market
Bolek Family Farms
Spotted Tail Farms
Wind Harvest Farms
Tracy and Megan Gifford
Mama Jane’s Artisan Breads
Victory Hill Farms
Wild at Heart Photography
Farmers Next Door
Vendors who will NOT be at the September 13 market:
Little Hawk Yarns
Circle P Jewelry
Can you feel the change in the air? Fall is near. This means that the tomatoes are going until it freezes, the fall raspberries are going, and we should start seeing some more of the fall vegetables like squash. Soon, but not quite yet. Now is the time to enjoy the last tastes of summer and savor every moment of them until next year. Or if you are like me, stock up on them and put them into jars to treasure in January and February when it is cold and snowy out. I love to crack open a jar of canned peaches then.
Our vendor Wind Harvest Farms is having their Raspberry Festival this weekend so they won’t be joining us this Saturday but they’ll be back on the 13th. Don’t forget their u-pick farm is open during the week too. Which reminds me that I need to get out there and get some raspberries to put in my freezer.
We will have Legacy of the Plains Museum at market this Saturday to talk about renovations and upcoming events at the museum, and to sell tickets to the Sept. 13 Country Gold fundraiser concert.
Only four more markets in the downtown location and then we’ll hand off to the Scottsbluff Winter Farmers’ Market in the greenhouse at Aulick’s TLC. See you on Saturday 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. downtown Scottsbluff!
Our local paper does Friday features for our market. They did a nice piece on all of our vendors and the time that goes into our market. All of our vendors put lots of loving hard work into the produce they bring you. It is one of the beautiful parts of a farmers’ market. You can get to know the farmer that brings the food to your table, and they enjoy seeing the enjoyment it brings to you. Plus you are helping to support the local economy and a local family.
If you are curious here is the local paper link: Star Herald
Don’t forget to come out this Saturday and enjoy the fruits of your farmers labor! Peaches, melons, and tomatoes are all hot ticket items. And of course we have wonderful mountains of sweet corn at the moment. Come out early, grab a cup of coffee, do your shopping and enjoy a wonderful stroll around downtown.
We are really getting going at market these days. You can now find a few early tomatoes, the sweet corn is going gang busters, melons are ripe, and just about every variety of garlic, beans, zucchini, cucumbers and more can be found.
In addition to the fresh fruits and vegetables you can find farm-fresh eggs, handmade jewelry, dog tags made on the spot, hand spun yarns, hand made baskets, and even meats and cheeses. There are baked goods, coffee, breakfast goods, quick breads, artisan breads, candy suckers, and local honey. Everything comes from within about a 200 mile radius. So, yes we have a Colorado vendor or two that bring in some lovely things that we don’t have here in the Panhandle.
Please remember most of our vendors make their living out of farming or ranching. Every little bit of support for them helps to provide for their family, keeps your money local, and keeps them coming back to market so you can enjoy the fruits of their labor.
While we are on reminders. Please remember not to park in the parking lot or on 18th Street between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. This allows us to hold our market in these spaces. Thank you for understanding and supporting your local farmers’ market.
Tomorrow starts the first day of August which means the market is in full swing. I have seen tomatoes in small numbers and those will be increasing quickly but at the moment you have to get to market early or you miss out. Sweet corn is ripe too! Beware it goes fast.
We have some fun things planned for market during the month of August.
August 2nd we start off with La Leche League of Scottsbluff joining us to celebrate World Breastfeeding Week. They will be hosting a walk and have an informational booth.
August 3 through 9 is National Farmers’ Market Week. If you haven’t visited your local farmers’ market yet, now is the time to do it.
August 9th the Scottsbluff Police Department will be performing child seat safety checks in the parking lot next to market. This is a great opportunity to double-check your child’s seat is safely installed in your car. Don’t forget it is FREE. Please follow the signs when parking and pulling in and out.
August 16th the Valley Homeschool Association will join us and have a fundraising booth set up. More information to come as we get closer.
August 30th Community Action Partnership of Western Nebraska (CAPWN) will join us with an informational booth on the services they provide.
As always we will have Sultry Sounds playing live music in the park during market. I will have information about the market and Food Day at the Little Hawk Yarns booth. Food Day information includes free recipes using market produce and make a great addition to those school lunches that are right around the corner.
Don’t forget! Please don’t park on the street or in the parking lot at 18th Street between 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. You will be towed.
Now that we are well and truly into the summer season we have some wonderful stuff coming available at market. I’m starting to see cabbages, peas, beets, broccoli, zucchini, onions, and lettuces all looking delicious. Strawberries have wrapped up their season. Our weather has been just right for the season to be fast and furious. There are cherries and mulberries that have started popping up though. Before we know we’ll be into the tomatoes and peppers too. If my own garden is any indication, they aren’t far off so long as the weather cooperates. We have producers that have beef, pork, dried beans, dried chili powder mixes, quick breads, artisan breads, eggs, cheese, jewelry, yarn, baskets, and many other things.
This weekend we’ll should have Theatre West back for a few songs from their Les Miserables production going on right now, and our wonderful band, Sultry Sounds. Please don’t forget to support the band with tips. They are a great bunch of college musicians who we love having at market.
Don’t forget! We’ll have the Riverside Discovery Center this summer and on August 9th we’ll be doing child safety seat checks at the market. Watch for more updates on upcoming events!