BY CHARLIE M. HOLMES
For most of the vendors at the inaugural Fly Creek Farmers’ Market last week their venture started with a knock on their front door. What they found on the other side of that door was John Stucin. Stucin is a farmer who knows many other farmers, but that’s not the only reason he got involved in organizing the Fly Creek Farmers’ Market. “Everything has gone kaputz.
My neighbors are putting up for sale signs. Moving out,” Stucin commented. “It’s about time that farmers stimulated the economy. Why not?”
Vali Vargha of Big Sky Farm was talking along the same line as Stucin and explained how buying local helps the community.
“I get the money from the vegetables,” Vargha said. “I go down to the general store here and buy something, instead of me spending it at a corporation that takes it out of the community.”
Vargha’s assertion is supported by a study conducted by The New Economics Foundation in 2009. The research showed that when peoplebought produce through a local farmers’ market or community supported agriculture program, such as the one Vargha sets up each spring, “twice the money stayed in the community.”
Buying local has other benefits. Eric Forster of Shadbush Farm pointed out that fewer miles means fresher produceand fresher produce means better flavor.
“That spinach,” he said, nudging his head toward the spinach displayed on his stand, “was picked this morning. It’s the best-tasting spinach you’ll ever have.”
Vince Mihulka of Mihulka Farms backs up Forster’s claim that local products taste great. He should know because like the rest of the farmers at the market, he eats what he grows. In fact, the original reason for his farm was to grow food for his family.
“Donna’s Italian,” Mihulka explained speaking about Donna Labruzzo, who is co-owner of Mihulka Farms. “Everybody comes over on Sunday to eat so we needed to [plant a garden]. We just grew. We both like to garden.”
Krugerrand Farms, run by James Andela and his daughter Lisa Miedema, started out as a family project, too.
“My daughters had goats in 4H and when they went to college they said, ‘Dad, you can sell the goats now.’ And every time I thought about doing it I got all weepy,” Andela confessed. “So I told them I couldn’t sell the goats.”
Andela only sells cheese, but expressed an interest in finding out if the community would like him to get certified to sell milk. He pointed out that milk produced locally has a higher nutritional value just like other locally produced products because of the hands on way local farmers process their food.
Cheese and produce aren’t the only products available at The Fly Creek Farmers’ Market. There’s meat, eggs, maple syrup, honey, wool, soap, tyed dyed clothing, fresh cut flowers and even prepared food from the menu atOrigins Cafe.
“This is a really nice venue,” Andela observed. “It’s been a really active day on opening day and a nice market.”
“Come out,” Tracey Helgeson of The Painter’s Farm encourages. “Have a good social event. Sit around and chat.”
The Fly Creek Farmers’ Market is located directly across the street from the post office on Highway 26 in the parking lot of the Fly Creek United Methodist Church. It will be openevery Thursday through October 25 from 3 until 7 p.m. For more information about becoming a vendor, performing at the market or to find contact information for the current vendors visit their website at http://www.flycreekfarmersmarket.com/.
Those people who are interested in learning more about what will be going on at the market each week should search for the Fly Creek Farmers’ Market on Facebook.
BY CHARLIE M. HOLMES
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