It’s growing season again, and whether you’re a bona fide farmer, or a smalltime gardener, the Key Peninsula Farmers Market could be an avenue to share the bounty.
Holly Hendrick, market manager, said local gardeners definitely have a place at the market, under the right circumstances.
"In order to make the market worth their while, gardeners need to have a fairly large crop and decent selection of produce. Also, all produce vendors should have liability insurance in case someone gets sick from one of their items."
Each vendor needs a pop up canopy or cover as well as bags and other supplies.
"Participating in the market can be a bit daunting and expensive for small time growers," she said.
Anyone who plans to participate in the Farmers Market should be starting seeds now, in a green house or warm spot in their house, she said. And growers should keep in mind that shoppers expect pesticide-free produce, and organic seeds are a great idea.
Though other markets in the area feature prepared food vendors and musicians, the Key Peninsula Farmers Market Board has an agreement with Greg Calahan that they not have vendors or entertainment that competes with O'Callahan's business, Hendrick said.
Calahan allows free parking in his parking lot, and hosts local musicians in the beer garden, which Hendrick said is kid-friendly on Sundays during market hours.
"That adds to the general farmers market ambiance," she said.
The artist and crafter section of the market will be a bit different this season, with partial season crafters.
Because the ratio of farmers to crafters must be 3:1, and there were so many crafters interested in participating in the market, Hendrick said the board decided to implement the partial season and rotate crafters.
"This is great for the market and the consumers, because there will be a greater variety of products in the market throughout the season. This new crafter policy also keeps the market fresh and new from week to week and is good incentive to make the farmers market a weekly habit."
Anyone interested in a booth at the farmers market should look at the rules and policies on the website at www.kpfarmersmarket.org, and download the application for participation, she said. Applications are due by May 1.
A meeting is planned for April 5 at 4 p.m. at the Key Center Library. Applications can be turned in at that time, and there will be a chance to ask questions, Hendrick said.
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