Generating local excitement
Cheney Farmers Market opens second season at City Hall parking lot with more selection
It might be a busy summer for the Cheney Farmer’s Market if last Tuesday was any indication of how the rest of the season will play out.
The market, which opened June 11 in the City Hall parking lot at 609 Second St., provides an opportunity for Cheney residents and surrounding communities to sift through a vast selection of locally produced foods and crafts from nearby vendors.
“There was a lot of excitement about the market this year and we were as busy as I’ve ever seen the Cheney Farmer’s Market last Tuesday when we opened,” interim market manager Jeanie Wolen said. “It was just great how many people came in. We are just really looking forward to this year.”
Wolen credits this year’s market location, which will be the second year at the site, for the upswing in customers and is optimistic about the remaining market days, which will have a greater selection of produce available for purchase.
“It looks like we are going to have quite a bit more produce this year, especially local produce,” Wolen said.
While Wolen admits that not all the produce is available yet this early in the season, she said the market has received strong interest from vendors and beginning June 25 she expects to have more and more available.
Among the vendors who were at the opening of the market last Tuesday were Pacific Produce from Wapato, Wash., who sells certified organic food and naturally grown vegetables including cherries and apricots. This upcoming week’s lineup includes vendors like Entropy Farm who sell rhubarb and spring greens along with homemade goat milk soaps and lotions.
Lori Musgrave, one of the more popular vendors from last years market, will also be back selling her Hutterian baked goods, fresh produce, jam and also honey.
“Her home-style baked goods. That’s been very good for us, those have been very popular,” Wolen said.
Along with Musgrave and Entropy Farm’s homemade goat milk soaps and lotions, Wolen said the market offers a great selection of local artist crafters and processor’s works.
“We’ll have a lady come in later that sells pickles, we have jewelry, local honey, and soy wax candles and melts,” Wolen said. “We also have a gentlemen who comes in and does flint knapping and demonstrates that. He makes himself arrowheads which are beautiful, you know really interesting.”
Wolen also added that local bedding plants and hanging baskets from vendor Hillberry Ridge will also be available for “anyone who lost their stuff in that frost a couple of weeks ago.”
One big change for the market this summer that will most likely take effect June 25 is the acceptance of food stamps. Wolen said the market has acquired all the necessary equipment to begin accepting food stamps but still has to go through a training process that begins June 20.
Wolen is also currently in talks with about two or three people about bringing in food trucks this year so customers can eat while shopping.
“We’re talking about it,” Wolen said. “Nothing definite yet but we’re still trying. That would be great if we could something to come in.”
Another opportunity the market offers is a booth for local non-profit organizations that may be interested in conducting fundraisers or giving out information about their specific cause.
“Let’s Move Cheney,” which was created in the spring of 2010 in response to Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign, will once again be at the market this Tuesday passing out fliers and information about their “Family Day,” which will be held Saturday, June 22.
Wolen said the booth has only been reserved for about four or five markets this year and anyone that is interested in a reservation can contact the market by email at Cheneyfarmersmkt@gmail.com. Regular updates about the market, which is open from 2-7 p.m. every Tuesday through Sept. 24, can be found on the market’s Facebook page, “Cheney Farmers Market.”