Farmers Market kicks off July 14

The 11th annual Weiser Farmers Market begins Thursday, July 14 at the historic Weiser Train Depot. 
 This year, 24 vendors have signed on as participants and there is still space for three more. The cost for a vendor booth is $5 per week.
 Vendors include bakers, honey producers, a mead maker (honey wine), jams and jellies, soaps and lotions, lavender products, pottery, woodworking, embroidery, shaved ice, and other crafts, as well as fresh, local produce.
 The Market will be held Thursday evenings from 5-7:30 p.m. and will continue through Sept. 15.
 “Most years we have live music and often times a food truck,” said organizer Jim Felton. “In 2021, we did not have a food truck. However, we are working on securing a food truck vendor for this season.”
 Founded in September 2012 by the Weiser River Resource Council (WRRC), the Market is a not-for-profit program that reinvests every dollar collected from vendor fees and sponsorships into promoting the Market.
 A few long-time participants include Wendy Martell, who has been a vendor since the beginning, Matthews Family Farms, which joined the second year, and Kelley Orchards, which began participating in year three.
 The Market was originally held on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
 Organizers at the time included Amanda Buchanan, Jordan Edwards, and Sandy Michaels of the WRRC, which has since stepped back from active participation.
 A small committee of volunteers now manages the Market.
 The first year served as a four-week test market, with the second year lasting 16 weeks. In its third year, however, the Market only lasted nine weeks.
 “Each year was harder to succeed as the Market was competing with a Market in Ontario along with other Saturday Markets throughout the Treasure Valley,” according to Felton. “We were experiencing burnout of both the vendors and volunteers. 2015 was the point of either giving up on the Market or making major changes.
 “Competing with the other events on Saturdays was not productive for either vendors or customers. The decision was made to switch the Market to Thursday evenings. That year we held only a 4-week Market to see if Thursdays were a good choice. Thursday evenings were well received by both customers and vendors. The following season we increased the number of Market weeks to 9 evenings.”
 The Market has since grown each year. The average weekly vendor counts in 2021 was 19, plus community booths featuring Weiser Memorial Hospital and the University of Idaho Extension office, as well as local animal rescue shelters CASPR (Canines And Special Pet Rehoming) and Felines Needing Perfect Homes, although it is not yet clear if those organizations will be in attendance this year.
 “The Weiser Market is a member of the Idaho Farmers Market Association (IFMA) and has the ability to accept SNAP cards so those on food assistance programs are able to get access to the best and freshest fruits and vegetables in the area,” Felton said. “We also, through IFMA, are able to offer Double Up Bucks for the SNAP card. This is a program that allows SNAP card users to receive up to $10 more in free tokens, allowing families to stretch their food budgets by up to $10 per week.”
 Felton extended his gratitude to the sponsors that make it all happen.
 “The sponsorship by these businesses makes it possible for the Market to continue to succeed and expand,” he said. “All of the monies collected from sponsorships and vendor fees go into advertising and promoting the Market.”
 Felton added that this will be the final year he and John Aegerter will serve as co-managers.
 “The Market is being turned over to the capable hands of Jennifer Huff and Alex Chavarria,” he said. 
 John has been involved since the inaugural season, joining as a co-manager in season four.
 “We’ve both decided that it is time to step back and let others take the Market to the next level,” Felton said.
 For more information, call Jim Felton (208) 549-1050, John Aegerter (208) 550-0500, or Jennifer Huff (208) 741-1757.
 

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Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
PH: (208) 549-1717
FAX: (208) 549-1718
 

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