Farmers Markets across the country are gearing up to celebrate National Farmers Market Week from August 2-8. With everything that is going on right now it’s a great time to remember that Farmers Markets are essential and that they are also an excellent way to support many small local businesses in our communities.
The National Farmers Market Coalition stated that “Farmers Markets continue to connect communities to delicious and nutritious local food in innovative ways. Market operators are adaptable and innovative to serve communities in unique ways that keep everyone safe. Farmers Markets are an essential part of our strained food system.”
Although many of the special activities that we’ve had at market in the past are on hold right now, we are excited that Natalie from Healthy Harvest of North Iowa will be at market on Saturday August 8th doing a cooking demo using their Charlie Cart (portable kitchen) to highlight ingredients straight from theCLFM vendors!
You can also find the Charlie Cart at the North Iowa Farmers Market on August 4th where local chef, Sally Pressly, will be demonstrating a fresh tomato recipe.
If you can’t make it to market on the these days there are other ways to join in, throughout the month, such as making purchases from a local farms, online curbside markets (healthyharvestni.com/curbside) or food hubs (such as NorthIowaFresh.com), cooking meals featuring local ingredients either from the markets or your own gardens and/or following the CLFM facebook/Instagram accounts. Whatever you choose, we hope you’ll join us to in the Celebration!
The Clear Lake Farmer’s Market may look and feel a little different this year due to COVID-19, but that doesn’t mean it’s not as enjoyable as every year before that! We are still practicing social distancing and taking measures to ensure customer and vendor safety and although masks aren’t mandatory as of right now, they are encouraged. At the very beginning of the season only food and produce vendors were allowed because of restrictions put into place due to COVID-19. However, restrictions were lifted a few weeks back so that all other vendors are now able to participate. The Market is open from 9 AM to noon on Saturday’s and is located in the Surf Ballroom parking lot. There are a wide variety of vendors and products being sold that include, but are not limited to: produce, honey, popcorn, baked goods, bread, homemade jewelry, soaps and fragrances, decorative signs – you name it! Behind every product there is a vendor, and each time you buy from them you are supporting them and their local business. There are many full season vendors but there are also several that vary from week to week. The Farmer’s Market is a fun atmosphere and a great way to spend time with family, friends or pets! So, if you’re looking for a sign to get out and enjoy some fresh air on your Saturday morning, this is it! Come shop local and get to know the hard-working people behind all of these amazing products.
Everyone’s story is different but each one of us has a story to tell.
Check in on Mondays on our social media platforms to hear the stories of our farmers! They are amazing and we hope you enjoy the connection to not only your locally-sourced food but your local farmers as well.
For today’s column, we’re in Clarion, Iowa.
For 5 generations the Hunter family has been perfecting a premium beef product; it’s in their blood!
Ashley and her sister Sara grew up raising and showing cattle across the country receiving purple ribbons! Now they own and run the aptly named Purple Ribbon Beef!
Their focus is on sustainability – local corn feed, Iowa meat processing companies and local sales of premium beef. Every animal is born and raised on the farm. They can tell you every detail of the 140 cows.
Cattle is all we know as a family!
Ashley says we are humbled during this difficult time by the increase of
support and love shown not only by our customers but by the greater
northern Iowa region as everyone navigates all these changes.
You can find Purple Ribbon Beef at the Clear Lake Farmers Market on Saturdays through October 17, 9 a.m. to noon n the parking lot of the Surf Ballroom and Museum.
We’d like to introduce you to another one of the vendors at the Clear Lake Farmers Market – Brown Family Farms. Brown Family Farms has some delicious baked goods! Shaun and his wife Myla are vendors at both the CLFM and the North Iowa Farmers Market in Mason City. So they’re at markets here Tuesday, Friday and Saturday! That is a lot of baking. Shaun has always been a baker. He started as a child in his grandma*s kitchen. After working for a decade and a half in a factory, he purchased 9 acres and began Brown Family Farms in 2017. Shaun bakes a variety of breads, delicious pies, cookies, and provides farm-fresh eggs and locally-tapped maple syrup. The farm focuses on healthy, natural ingredients, locally-sourced or from his own farm. Being a full-time farmer, vendor and a father of 4 boys is tiring, Shaun said. He sells at the farmers markets (4 days a week) because he can see and interact with his customers. *Being outside in the sun does all of us good!* It is important to me to produce local baked goods and sell locally! When you buy from Brown Family Farms you are supporting a local family, meaning I can feed, house and provide for my family. Thank you! Farmers markets are the best way to sell.” Try a pie or a cookie! Youll be hooked. Find Brown Family Farms at the Clear Lake Farmers Market on Saturdays through October 17, 9 a.m. to noon n the parking lot of the Surf Ballroom and Museum. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and visit our webpage at www.clearlakefarmersmarket.com for up-to-date information. The Clear Lake and North Iowa Farmers Markets are also offering a Curbside Market Program. Visit http://www.curbsideni.com to learn more.