Saturday marked the first famers’ market of 2017. I was pleasantly surprised by the turnout with it being the first day of market, a busy weekend, and the potential for rain. There were 28 vendors at the market this week, which is great! I feel that both the vendors and visitors were happy it’s farmers market season again. I, myself, am excited for this season. I am trying a few new things and can’t wait to see how they work out.
If you made it to market on Saturday, you may have noticed some of my planted herbs. Last year I would cut all of my herbs in the morning to bring to market. Most of the time, I would have bundles of herbs that were left over and since I could use it soon enough, just went to waste. Therefore, this year I decided to bring some of my smaller planters of herbs and cut them as needed. So say you want some thyme, I will cut you some sprigs of thyme right there at the market for you to take home and cook with. It doesn’t get much fresher than that! I will still have cuttings from herbs that I do not have in planters such as basil, cilantro, oregano, mint, and sage. However, I will probably only have a few bundles of each in order to cut down on waste. I would love for customers who want certain herbs to let me know prior to that Saturday so I know how much to cut and can make sure they get what they want.
I was able to find some different seed varieties of my favorite plants this winter but only time will tell if they will make it to market. So far most of what I planted has germinated and transplanted well, now it just has to survive whatever Mother Nature puts it through. As far as new herbs go, I am hoping to have some lemon mint, berry mint, blue spice basil, and spicy globe basil. However, my herbs are struggling a little more than the other plants. I couldn’t pass up trying out Mexican Sour Gherkin Cucumbers; they look like miniature watermelon but are supposed to taste like they are already pickled. I just planted those though, so hopefully they do well. I planted a lot of different varieties of tomatoes, most of which are yellow or variegated in color and include cherry, plum/paste, and regular types. I also bought many different varieties of winter squash which, with a little luck, will be ready to pick toward the end of the market season. The varieties of winter squash include gold, white, and regular acorn squash, carnival squash, and sweet meat squash.
I am also excited because the Jasper Farmers’ Market is introducing Market Bucks this year. I’m hoping this encourages more people to check out the market. If you have never been, I strongly suggest you make a point to go sometime this summer. Make sure you walk around and ask questions/talk to the vendors at the farmers’ market. Typically when you buy produce at a grocery you rarely know anything about where it was grown, if or what chemicals were used on the plant, how it was harvested and cleaned, or when it was picked. Being able to learn more about the produce you buy and the people who grow them is not something you’re able to do very often, so take advantage of it!