This week is National Farmers Market Week. We’re really celebrating at the 3rd & Curry Street Farmers Market because we were one of 10 farmers markets across the United States picked by Farmers Market Coalition in partnership with the USDA to be featured.
All the markets picked from a cross section of the country demonstrate a high degree of community engagement, innovative thinking, strong leadership and clear community impacts. We share this recognition with everyone in the community and our market family who helped make this happen: Carson City for their continued support, Park and Recreation for always lending a helping hand, Streets, the Sheriff’s Office and their volunteers, Nevada Appeal, all our farmers, local businesses, vendors and last but not least our wonderful supportive customers. There are more than 8,000 farmers market across the country and for our market in Carson City to be chosen as one of five in the western states is a pretty big honor.
For several years now during NFMW we have celebrated by partnering with our local USDA (thank you Kelly Clark) and their Feds Feed Families in collecting donations and fresh produce that’s given to Ron Wood Family Resource Center and FISH. All our farmers donate the first week and the rest of the vendors donate money so the next week we can buy the produce from those same farmers that gave so generously. We also collect from our customers and if they donate they have a chance to win a market basket filled to the brim with goodies from all our vendors. In the past our total weight in produce donated for the two weeks was around 1,400 pounds. Last week it was 1,033 and we still have this week to go. We’re certain to break our own record. That’s an accomplishment which ties right back into “clear community impacts.”
What Farmers Markets do for our community; they increase access to fresh nutritional food. They preserve America’s and Nevada’s rural livelihoods and farmland, stimulate local economies and promote sustainability. Farmers educate their customers by discussing their farming practices, how to prepare the produce they sell and the nutritional benefits of eating fresh picked. Markets serve as educational hubs, small business incubators and civic centers.
I have another bit of good news to share. Double Bucks Las Vegas reached out to our market to be a part of their FINI (Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive) grant. Basically it’s a double incentive for SNAP users. We’ve already been doing that at the market in conjunction with Partnership Carson City for three years but piggybacking on this grant allows us to do more outreach and really help those in need to eat healthier in assisting with their purchases of fresh fruit and vegetables from the farmers market.
My recipe for today is for everyone to give themselves a pat on the back and a hug.
Come to the FM this week and help us celebrate. Buy some local meat from Butler, Holley Farms, Bentley Ranch, Black Rock Bison, or Eagle Valley Farm and grill it on your barbecue, pick up some local lettuce, tomatoes, onions, beets, carrots, cauliflower, peppers, potatoes, squash from Lattin, Pleasant Valley, Minton, Chuck’s, Bravo, First Fruit Sustainable Farms, Rodriquez Ranch and fix any of those as a side. For dessert grab a melon, some strawberries, raspberries, blackberries or figs and eat them plain or on a cake from Bakery Gallery or Pearl’s Bakery and slice them up for a shortcake. Add a flower bouquet and some fresh olive oil and your meal will be complete. You’ll have a “Food for the Soul” dinner.
For the next eight weeks plan a visit to the market and get everything fresh and local that our area and surrounding farmers have to offer. Stay awhile, enjoy the music, sit down, have a cup of coffee or a bite to eat and visit with your friends and neighbors. Eat it while it’s fresh and in season.
Linda Marrone, a longtime Carson resident, manages the 3rd & Curry Street Farmers Market and is the director of Nevada Certified Farmers Market Association.