Photo of The Apple Press which can be found in operation at the Troy Farmers Market. Photo courtesy of Shawna Kelsey
By McKenzie Williams
With Spring approaching, Farmer’s Market season is on its way too. This means we can look forward to locally grown produce, homemade baked goods, and a variety of arts and crafts.
Shawna Kelsey shared with The Montanian some of the advantages of local farmer’s markets.
“The produce you can find at the market is fresh, affordable, sustainably grown, and nutritious. Because of the freshness and the care with which it has been handled, the produce even has a longer shelf-life. The other items available at the market are carefully created by passionate producers. Those producers also happen to be our neighbors and friends. Beyond accessing high-quality products, farmers markets have a deep social value for vendors and customers alike,” Kelsey said.
So what’s new with our local farmer’s markets?
Libby may be graced with two farmer’s markets this year. The Libby Area Chamber of Commerce Board and Market Committee are planning to create a new Farmer’s Market at Libby.
This new farmers market will follow specific guidelines which includes being a producer only market. In addition, vendors must live in Lincoln, Flathead, Sanders, or Boundary Counties, and they can only sell products that they grow, harvest, create, or produce within a 100 mile radius of Libby, Mont.
To get the ball rolling, the committee has scheduled two informational meetings, a chance to receive feedback on The Farmers Market at Libby. The meetings will be held on Sunday, March 10 at 3 p.m. at the Cabinet Mountain Brewery, and again on Wednesday, March 13 at noon at The Gracious Table.
This new farmers market will be located at Fireman’s Park and will official begin on Thursday May 9th.
The original Libby Farmers Market will continue as well, but it will move from the parking lot at the Libby Chamber of Commerce to the Libby Methodist Church parking lot. The market will open on Thursday, May 9 and continue every Thursday from 1 until 6 p.m. through Oct. 3.
In an interview with The Montanian, Juanita Shikora, the market’s organizer said, “This is our 14th year running. There will be new spaces and faces, so come check out the Libby’s Farmers Market.” There are already 18 vendors signed up to share their goods with the community this year.
With a variety of vendors selling items including baked goods, essential oils, fresh produce, handmade wooden gifts, jams, and much more, there is something for every member of the family. The Libby Farmers Market is a non-profit organization, and vendor fees are given back to the community every year. They have donated to the Libby Senior Center, the Student Stand Down, Koats 4 Kids, Libby Schools, the Food Pantry and many more.
To register your booth or for more information call Juanita at 293-3996 or Helen at 293-8504 and be sure to like and follow the Libby Farmer’s Market on Facebook to stay updated on their events.
The Troy Farmer’s Market will be back this year as well. That market’s purpose is to develop a viable and sustainable farmer’s market that will provide for the mutual benefit of local farmers, crafters, and community to encourage the production, purchase, and consumption of quality local foods.
They will be starting out their season with a special Mother’s Day Market on Friday, May 10 and end their season with another special market, the Indoor Fall Bounty Market which is planned for Oct. 3. The Troy Farmers Market’s regular season will run from June 7 until the Sept. 27. The Market operates on the grounds of the Troy Museum on Hwy 2 from 3:30 until 6:30 p.m. on Fridays.
On average, the Troy Farmer’s Market has 12 vendors weekly with up to 30 individual vendors who attend throughout the season. They even have youth vendors who can sell their items at a shared table.
Kelsey who directs the Troy Farmer’s Market said, “We have a growing number of produce vendors, vendors who sell eggs, honey, baked goods or body care items. We have been lucky to have a selection of artisan crafts and an occasional booth with hot, prepared food.”
The Troy’s Farmers Market is unique because they accept supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) or food stamps benefits. They also offer a kids’ program at the market so children can learn about nutrition, gardening, and other related topics.
There will also be a new gazebo for musicians and other special activities at the market this year, and they hope to include an alternating weekly craft booth to accommodate more craft vendors throughout the season.
This year, they will also offer a sponsorship program for local businesses or individuals who would like to support the farmer’s market. For a small fee, a sponsor would have a chance to show off their business at a market booth and have their business information featured on a sponsorship sign and on social media.
If you’re interested in being a part of Troy’s Farmers Market, contact Shawna Kelsey at 291-9895 or email shawna@y aakvalley.org. All items sold at the market must be homemade or home grown.