Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Last chances for farmersí markets

Harvest time brings fresh produce to Wood River Valley


By TERRY SMITH
Express Staff Writer


The Farmers’ Markets in Ketchum and Hailey draw visitors and locals alike who are looking for fresh wholesome food, delicious prepared edibles, unique arts and crafts, and a Wood River Valley-style cultural affair.
Express file photo

    As cold weather draws ever closer, time is running short to get those “Bow Wow Bars” for the dog, honey healing salves for rashes, scrapes and burns, Bucksnort Rootbeer to quench the thirst or one-of-kind potato-sack bags to tote everything home.
    Those items are among those featured this year at the Wood River Farmers’ Markets in Ketchum and Hailey. But the season is about to draw to a close. The Ketchum market holds its final foray for the season on Tuesday, Oct. 7, while the Hailey market takes down the tables for a final time on Thursday, Oct. 9.
    With harvest under way in southern Idaho, this time of year is especially good for procuring fresh produce. Salad greens, spinach, radishes, garlic, blueberries, boysenberries, strawberries, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, sweet onions, green onions, nectarines, peaches, apricots, cherries, corn and watermelon are some of the fresh fruits and vegetables available at the Wood River Farmers’ Markets.
    One can also purchase prepared foods and drinks, including jams and jellies, fresh baked bread, homemade soups, gluten-free baked goods, pickled items, street tacos, sheep and goat cheeses, handcrafted beer, sauerkraut, salami, various pastas, lasagna and lamb, chicken and beef.
    Dry goods include artisan crafted pottery, hand-sewn clothing, picture frame stoneworks, jewelry, wallets, flower arrangements, handmade wood products and more.
    There’s also more to the markets than just goods for purchase.
    Vendor Lisa Horton wrote on the Farmers’ Markets website, at www.wrfarmersmarket.org, that the markets have become a cultural affair.
    “People come to the market to see friends, learn about a sustainable lifestyle and network with community members of like minds,” Horton stated. “They also come for an enjoyable outing, satisfied that they are supporting local agriculture, chefs, and craft makers.
    “From my booth, I see families, people of all ages and pocketbook sizes and lots of visitors. I see merchants and workers from nearby businesses, who may only have a few minutes to snatch up some dinner material, and those folks really do appreciate the convenience of the current location. The Farmer’s Market has become an important social crossroads and a tourist attraction.”
    Farmers Markets in Ketchum and Hailey run annually from early June to early October.
    The Ketchum market operates from 2-6 p.m. on Tuesdays in downtown Ketchum at the intersection of East Avenue and Fourth Street. Standing in front of Atkinsons’ Market, just look to the east—you can’t miss it.
    Parking, though sparse at times, is typically available on surrounding streets. Other ways to get to the market are by bicycle, skateboard, feet or bus. A Mountain Rides’ bus stop is just one block to the south at the Sun Valley Visitors Center.
    The Hailey Farmers’ Market runs from 2-6 p.m. on Thursdays on Main Street between Carbonate and Galena streets. Parking is available at the Park and Ride on the northwest side of the intersection of Bullion and River streets, or sometimes can be found along Main Street. Biking and walking are other convenient ways to reach the market.
    Live music is ever-present at both the Ketchum and Hailey markets. There are activities for the kids and sometimes demonstrations.
    “Come join the fun, shop, taste the freshness of local produce, get to know your farmers, buy early season produce and plant starts, listen to free music with family and friends and enjoy the atmosphere,” Market Manager Kaz Thea states on the Farmers’ Market website.
    In addition to all of that, there are practical reasons for the markets. According to the website, the markets strengthen the local economy, support local farmers, support local artists and craftsmen and provide wholesome food to the people of Wood River Valley.




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