Transcript for the Piece Audio version of Idaho Farmers Markets Multiply and Innovate
The New Farmers’ Market Season
Edible Idaho Feature: 0422GH_NewMarket.wav Feature 4:00 04/22/11 GH/
[HOST INTRO] This is Edible Idaho with Guy Hand, celebrating 2011: The Year of Idaho Food.. (4:00 to soc out)
(Sound of market bell and crowds)
Hand: It’s a brand new farmers’ market season. Last Saturday, the Boise and Eagle markets opened. Next Saturday, April 30th, the Nampa and Meridian markets will open. Laura Johnson tracks farmers markets for the Idaho State Department of Agriculture:
Johnson: We’ve seen a tremendous amount of growth in farmers’ markets over the last few years. The number of markets has more than doubled since 2006. ‘Cause in 2006 we had 26 markets and we’re looking at 2011 of having 55 markets around the state. So tremendous growth.
Hand: Johnson says new farmers‘ markets are popping up all over Idaho.
Johnson: There’s a new Meridian urban market, which will be in the Generations Plaza on Idaho Street. There’s also a new market in Marsing. There’s also a new market in Arco and a additional market in Idaho Falls. And a new market in Montpellier.
Hand: Along with new farmers markets, Johnson says, have come new ways to communicate and interact with customers.
Johnson: That’s another trend we’re seeing is that markets are using Facebook and Twitter and getting a consumer following so they can do things like blast out “hey we’re going to have asparagus this week.” That’s a real interest to consumers.
Hand: Johnson says that 5 or 6 Idaho farmers’ markets are currently set up to handle Electronic Benefit Transfers or EBTs. Like food stamps, they allow low income shoppers to buy food at farmers markets.
Johnson: We also see opportunities for local artists at markets. Eagle has a lot of entertainment that they have at their market.
Hand: Melissa Nodzu, the Eagle Saturday Market’s new manager, is planning several ongoing classes and events.
Nodzu: So this year one of the things we decided to implement, it’s what I like to call Dirt to Dishes. And what that is is from the garden to your table so what it includes is a short little gardening series that’s going to be held weekly roughly the end of April.
Hand: Nodzu says they’ll also have a Chef at the Market cooking series in May . . .
Nodzu: And the idea behind the chef is taking produce you can find locally at the market or just in general in our community and create dishes from food you can find right here.
Hand: Nodzu has also started a series called Artist’s in Action at the Eagle Market.
Nodzu: With Artist’s in Action basically there’s going to be a working artist every week at the market doing demonstrations or providing and opportunity for patrons to participate in the activity and create their own artwork.
Hand: At the venerable Capital City Public Market in downtown Boise, market manager Karen Ellis says things have really changed since the day in 1994 when the market opened with twelve vendors. Last Saturday, the season began with nearer 130.
Ellis: We’ve gotten new vendors in but we’ve also gotten vendors who are starting earlier than usual and we have some new produce people starting this year, new food people, so . . .
Hand: The Capital City Public Market will also have guest bell ringers ringing the market open each week, a free Vegie Valet service where shoppers can check bags and an online market map.
Ellis: It’ll be a link on our website that takes them to an interactive map that will allow them to plug in a product to see who’s carrying that product at our market and when it’s available.
Hand: This Saturday Ellis says the market has a new one-time event scheduled too.
Ellis: Well, we’re having the big Farm to Table Tour and it’s a big event actually sponsored by Toyota and they come in and hire local chefs. They pay the chefs and they give them a stipend to purchase food from our local farmers market farmers and then the chefs will prepare food samplings that will go on all day during the market that day.
Hand: The Idaho Department of Agriculture prints statewide farmers market guides every spring that has information on all of Idaho’s 55 markets. To find out more, go to radio.boisestate.edu/edibleidaho.
Hand: For Edible Idaho and Boise State Public Radio, I’m Guy Hand.