By Zandra Johnson
If you haven’t been to the Troy Farmer’s Market you should consider checking it out this summer. It’s not just a market but an event held on Friday afternoons at the Troy Museum.
The Market is perfect for browsing vendors and Troy’s history at the Museum. It has a fun, upbeat atmosphere and offers locally sourced, grown, baked, and handmade goods.
In it’s sixth year, the Market is managed by Shawna Kelsey, and the Yaak Valley Forrest Council is their fiscal sponsor. They have received help from a community development program and from other grants for startup and purchases like the wireless SNAP swipe machine which makes using SNAP benefits at the Farmer’s Market possible.
The market will match up to $10 in local produce for customers using their SNAP card, they have helped provide training for produce growers and small businesses, and they offer kids programs too. It’s not hard to see Kelsey’s passion for the Farmer’s Market or the work she puts into it.
“I think what’s helped keep this market going and growing is the anchor booths that have been here since the beginning,” she told The Montanian. There are a handful anchor booths, but part of the Market’s beauty is also the constant variety. Booths vary their offerings, and different booths are there on different weeks too.
For kids, the Market offers a chance to run into friends from school at the Library on the Lawn area or at the Sprouts Kids Program booth.
Kay Randall, Troy’s school librarian for over 23 years, brought Library on the Lawn to the Market. Every other week she sets up there so that books can be checked out onsite. “For kids to have books in their hands, if I can be here to make them that much more accessible, I am all over that,” said Randall in an interview on July 20.
The Sprouts Kids Program offers an interactive treasure hunt, a sensory garden, and opportunities for getting to know the vendors or doing taste tests.
One talented 12 year old named Audrey Evans has her own booth. In 2017, Evans won prizes for her white bread and her chocolate and sponge cakes at the Jr. Fair. Proceeds help buy feed for her chickens.
Judy Kelsey has a booth with peanut butter cookies, scones, mint or Kahlua layer brownies, and even some gluten-free options.
Renee Stapley sells a variety of fresh produce, eggs, raspberries, and even homemade mustard that you can taste test.
Dolezal Fruit has been at the Market since it started. They sell an array of fruits, vegetables, herbs, pastries and more. Their fruit is grown in an local orchard they planted in 1978.
Hoot Owl Farm, owned by Rudy and Bonnie Geber of Libby offers a booth of fresh garden produce. The Gerbers started a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program this year. CSA members pay an upfront cost and receive produce every week throughout the growing season. Their CSA is full, with 23 members and a waiting list, but you don’t have to be a member to buy from Hoot Owl’s booth.
Laurie Hick’s booth is full of different and fun items including jellies, baked goods, candy, tea, fresh produce, and organic lavender.
Brenda Nogode operates Brenda’s Bounty with beautiful flowers, produce, handmade booties, seeds, and eye-catching bread she dyes with beets and spinach.
It’s not just about food at the Market, if you stop by Unicorn Trading’s booth you’ll find John Derry selling beautiful handcrafted jewelry. Derry is a self-taught jewelry designer who started in the early 1980’s. He has rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and more.
BoHo beads owner, Stephanie Fredin, has been doing beadwork as a hobby for 30 years and in business for about 11 years ago. Her booth features a wide variety of jewelry and craft pieces.
Fredin will have a necklace featured in the Fast and Fabulous section of Beadwork Magazine’s December/January issue this winter.
If you’re hungry, On A Stick Kabobs, run by Jeremy Huisentruit could help you out. Huisentruit offers chicken, beef and pork kabobs. He started On A Stick specifically for the Troy Farmer’s Market.
Madeline Finley runs Mads’ Bread and culinary curios’ booth. Her famous croissants are a hit and she bakes artisan breads, focaccia, and macarons too.
If you’re looking to support a good cause, stop by Kootenai Kiwanis’s booth. They sell root beer floats and Italian sodas to support their Student Stand Down event which has provided free school supplies for 250 area children for the last two years.
Stop by the Troy Farmer’s Market on a Friday afternoon for lots of fun and to support our local growers, crafters, and businesses.