Storm Damage

By Jessi Myers

There are many things
that define a great community. There are the amenities and attractions,
the businesses and job opportunities, and most importantly the people. The
Clear Lake Farmers Market is a great example of all of these things and
one of the many things that makes Clear Lake great. The special quality of
the the Market and the people that participate was on full display on July

Around 11:00 am a strong storm moved in quickly. There
was very little warning and there was extensive damage. During this time
vendors and patrons fought 60+ mph winds trying to keep the canopies,
displays, merchandise, and people safe. Hard rain followed and people
scrambled to help their friends, neighbors and even strangers salvage what
they could.

Approximately 18 vendors lost their canopies.
Crafters had handmade goods destroyed by rain. Those materials now a loss.
Carefully designed signage and marketing materials were ruined. Checks and
cash were lost to the wind.

People picked up the debris,
untangled tents, offered comforting words to each other, and kept looking
for the next place to help until it was all done. By noon the Market was
fully torn down and the vendors and patrons were on their way home. Bumps
and bruises but no major injuries.

It would be great if that
was where the difficulty ended. The small business owners affected by the
storm still face insurance claimes. They are crunching numbers to find
room for replacement canopies, displays, and materials to make new product
in their budget. They are re-evaluating schedules and plans to make time
to put the same care into the quality of their product that they put into
what they lost.

So you may be asking yourself, what can I do to
help? How can I support these businesses and make sure they thrive? The
answer is simple. Come to the Clear Lake Farmers Market and shop. Support
the vendors that make the market great by buying their goods. Shop for
groceries. Ask them for recipe ideas and try something new. Buy gifts for
a friend or something special for yourself. Show up and show the the
market family that it is a special part of Clear Lake and that Clear Lake
is truly a great community.

be in the parking lot at the Surf Ballroom and Museum from 9 a.m. to noon
Saturday, through Oct. 19. For information, visit and follow us on Facebook.

Eating Local

By Judy Delperdang

Now is the perfect time to explore eating local.
One of the best ways to eat local is to create your own garden. Start small with a little plot or even a few containers. It’s not too late, and there are plenty of people willing to help. Focus on vegetables or herbs that you love and know you will eat.
Another great place is your local farmers market. Learn when fruits and vegetables are in season by visiting Not only can you eat what’s in season now, but you can stock up for the winter. You can often buy large quantities of produce like tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas, corn, blueberries or aronia berries very inexpensively. Freezing is an easy way to preserve them for later. Items like squash, potatoes, onions, carrots and beets have a long shelf life, so buy in late summer/early fall and save them for winter. A Preservation Celebration is planned for Sunday, Sept. 15, at Central Gardens of North Iowa, where you can learn about food preservation from a variety of vendors and food artisans. There will also be a tasting table loaded with pickles, preserves, breads and more.
Local meat, egg, honey producers often have products available year round, at farmers markets, specialty stores like Simply Nourished in Clear Lake, and directly from the
A great local resource is Healthy Harvest of North Iowa, for information on everything from finding local producers to local food events. Visit their website at www.healthyharvestni.comor follow them on Facebook. Local food is also available through North Iowa Fresh, which offers a CSA-style “Bounty Box” and partners with producers and vendors to get local food in restaurants and stores. You can find them at and on Facebook.
As always, we hope to see you at the Clear Lake Farmers Market from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Oct. 19. We’re located in the parking lot at the Surf Ballroom and Museum. For information, visit and follow us on Facebook.

Live Music At Market

By Judy Delperang
Music is as much of a staple at the Clear Lake Farmers Market as is seasonal produce, locally-raised meat, baked goods, and handmade crafts. And like other market offerings, you have to get there early to take the best advantage of it. While the market runs from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays, the music is over at 11.
Market-goers on June 22 were treated to the music of Desiree Castillo, 21, of Mason City.
Desiree said she’s “been doing music since age 11,” serving on the worship team at Agape Christian Family Church in Clear Lake.
“I’ve been playing guitar since I was 5 or 6. I’ve been singing my whole life.”
Her dad and 18-year-old brother are also on the church worship team. “I’m obviously used to doing worship music,” she said about the kind of music she plays.
“Oddly enough, I’m not the greatest fan of country, but that comes pretty easy. I’ll do anything that sounds good with guitar. I think I do it well.”
She was listening to country music “when I was figuring out my voice” around age 10 or 11, but she also heard oldies music (1950s and ’60s) growing up.
“My dad is into it. It’s easy to do and fun.”
Putting her touch on the music she performs is a bit of a challenge in a two-hour set like the market’s.
“Going with the flow – changing it around – kind of comes naturally to me” with worship music.
“If I like it, make it my own.”
You have two more chances to catch Desiree at the market: Aug. 10 and Sept. 28. Don’t miss it.
The schedule for the rest of the season:
Bill Wolf, July 6; Jim Thornton, July 13; Abby Smith, July 20; Kristy Neidlinger, July 27; Jim Thornton, Aug. 3; Desiree, Aug. 10; Spencer Rahm, Aug. 17; Dave Sappenfield, Aug. 24; TBD Aug. 31; Kristy Neidlinger, Sept. 7; Jim Thornton, Sept. 14; Dave Sappenfield, Sept. 21; Desiree, Sept. 28; Harvest Fest, Oct. 5; Dave Sappenfield, Oct. 12; Betsy and Tom Kirby, Oct. 19.
The farmers market is open 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays through Oct. 19 in the Surf Ballroom parking lot.
For information, visit, and follow the market on Facebook and Instagram.

Special thanks to sponsors who make this weekly live music possible: CDI, CLTel & The North Iowa Board of Realtors

Youth Vending Program

The Clear Lake Farmers Market wants to support budding young entrepreneurs! Young people, up to 18 years of age, will be given the opportunity to sell handcrafts and homegrown produce. In offering local youth this opportunity, we hope to introduce them to various skills, including marketing, decision-making, record-keeping/monetary skills, interpersonal skills and building their knowledge of the farmers market and local food community.  

During the 2018 market season 18 Youth Vendors participated in the program. Thanks to support from the Clear Lake Noon Lions, canopies and tables were purchased so the kids could have their own stall for a true market experience. Goods sold included cedar sachets, fudge, cupcakes, apples, greeting cards, dog & cat toys, coffee, muffins, bread, lemonade, eggs, aloe plants & more! All items were handmade, baked from scratch or home grown and after trying it once many returned again or expressed interest in participating again this year.

This season, the Clear Lake Farmers Market Board has decided to expand this program and provide 3 dedicated youth vending stalls on all market days. Special thanks to our Youth Vending Sponsor, The Gabrielson Clinic for Women, for making this expansion possible. We’re excited to see what our young entrepreneurs have to offer this summer!

Information on the Youth Vending Program including the rules and online application can be found at or by emailing

Opening Day

Hey… Don’t miss Farmers Market Opening Day – May 18
By Andrea Evelsizer

The Clear Lake Farmers Market Board and Vendors are very excited about the upcoming Opening Day at Market and we can’t wait to meet you there! The market will open May 18 from 9am-noon at the Surf Ballroom Parking Lot.

Being named as one of the Top 10 Iowa Farmers Markets by “Best of Iowa” signifies the growth and popularity of the market. You’ll want to allow enough time to stroll through the market, enjoy the live music, browse the booths, purchase your local produce and stop at one of the adjacent restaurants for even more relaxation and community.

So far we have over 45 vendors registered and you can expect to meet at least 25 of them on Opening Day. Early spring greens, asparagus and other spring vegetables will be available, as well as bakery products, popcorn, jams, jelly, honey, maple syrup, meats, eggs, cheese, soaps/lotions, jewelry and unique local art.

Bring the kids on Saturday as we will be unveiling our “MAKE at Market” children’s activity which will also be available once a month throughout the summer. Thank you to CLTel and the Noon Lions for making this hands-on learning activity a reality!

Don’t miss the Youth Vendors, under the red canopies, where you will find young entrepreneurs who try out their skills in preparation and sales. We have set aside 3 designated stalls this year for Youth Vending. If you know of someone who might be interested, the youth vendor application is available on our website.

Mark Your Calendars so you don’t forget – The Farmers Market will be held every Saturday morning from May 18th through October 19th from 9:00 am – 12:00 noon.

If you are interested in being a sponsor, vendor, or volunteer, check out our website at or contact Be sure to follow the Market on Facebook and Instagram for the most up to date information and special events.

Weekly Activities At Market

By Jessi Myers

Each week the Clear Lake Farmers Market
offers a kid’s activity for families to enjoy together. The activities are
designed to be a fun diversion while also promoting the same interests and
skills that are common to Farmers Market vendors. While the primary goal
of offering kid’s activities is entertainment, a secondary benefit may be
inspiring future creatives and producers.

Innovation, hands-on
creativity, imagination, design, and execution are all steps to creating a
successful product for Farmers Market.
From planning the layout of a
garden, to building fences around a pasture, deciding on complementary
flavors to combine in a jam, or adjusting a recipe to perfect a new bread,
every vendor that sells at market has used skills developed through trial
and error and determination. Our hope is by offering the opportunity to
make chemical reaction boats, build a house for bees, design a corn
mosaic, plant a seed, or make a healthy snack we will light a spark of

This season a new offering will be available at least
once a month at the kid’s activity booth. MAKE at Market is our new mobile
makerspace. Makerspaces are popping up at schools and public libraries
across the country. Each space is unique in content and design.
at Market focuses on using building materials, crafting supplies, and
recycled materials for creative exploration. Kids have an opportunity to
combine the use of tools such as hammers and screwdrivers with fabric
scraps, art supplies, old magazines, maps and so much more to create
whatever they can imagine. As an ongoing fundraiser for the Clear Lake
Farmers Market, MAKE will also be available for event and birthday party

This project was made possible by the generous
financial support of the Noon Lions and CL Tel. We are so appreciative of
their support. We have also received extensive donations of recycled
materials and art supplies from many individuals in the community. Thank
you to all that have donated.

f you are interested in more
information about rental availability and pricing or donating supplies
please contact

We look forward to a
fantastic season of kid’s activities at the Clear Lake Farmers Market. We
hope your family will join us.

The Clear Lake Farmers Market is
held from 9 a.m. to noon every Saturday morning through
Oct.19. For more information,,
and follow the Market on Facebook and Instagram for the most up
to date information and special events.

We’re Hiring!

The Clear Lake Farmers Market is hiring! Join the fun and become part of the fastest growing farmers market in North Iowa!

We are currently looking to fill two positions: Market Set-Up & Tear Down and Market Manager. Full job descriptions can be found below. If interested, please fill out the contact form or email us at CLICK HERE if you’d prefer to apply via our Face Book job postings. We look forward to hearing from you!

* Indicates Required Fields

Clear Lake Farmers Market Manager Position (Part Time)

The Market Manager is responsibilities for coordination and communications on behalf of the market. The Market Manager Duties include:

Participation with CLFM Board:
Maintain open communication with the Market Board and attend board meetings to offer updates and suggestions
Write promotional articles (Mirror Column) as requested by marketing committee
Work with the Market Board to conduct a post-season vendor survey to evaluate the season
Resolve any disputes that may arise between vendors, consumers and the community (involve the Market Board as needed to help resolve issues)
Perform other tasks as assigned by the board, as necessary
Assist with customer counts, special events and coordination of volunteers, as needed

Statewide Meetings:
Attend yearly statewide Farmers Market Association meeting/training held in February

Rules and Regulations:
Maintain a good understanding of all market, state and local rules
Update CLFM Rules and Regulations documents to reflect regulation changes by the state and updates made by the CLFM board
Distribute and enforce CLFM Rules & Regulations
Monitor compliance with Rules & Regulations and communicate with vendors to resolve any disputes
Respond to vendor questions and ask the Market Board for clarification if needed
Act as a liaison between vendors and the Market Board to maintain a free flow of information and transparency
Report any violations to the Market Board for further action if necessary

Manage my Market Website:
Maintain the Manage my Market (MMM) account and update application information annually
Ensure payments to MMM are made in a timely manner
Assist vendors to apply via MMM and if necessary encourage vendors to complete their profiles
Send out invoices to vendors once they have been approved by the board
Collect and maintain accurate records of vendor payments and follow up, in a timely manner, with vendors who have outstanding payments
Ensure that all necessary insurance certificates and licenses are current and on file
Update stalls assignments for accuracy each week and post at trailer

Maintain accurate financial records of checks and deposits
Track deposits for stall fees, donations/sponsors and/or merchandise sales and update financial committee on account activity
Write checks for music on a weekly basis
Pay other bills as needed, in collaboration with financial committee
Check the CLFM PO box regularly and handle items that come in the mail

Spring Vendor Meeting:
Work with the Market Board vendor representatives to coordinate spring vendor meeting
E-mail pre-season information to vendors with spring meeting details, stall information and other market information
Coordinate the selection of Vendor Representatives, annually at the spring meeting
Assign vendor stalls (coordinate with the Market Board as needed)

Online Accounts:
Manage CLFM email and online accounts
Respond to CLFM e-mails and to messages on Facebook in a timely manner
Send email updates/market information to vendors
Post Facebook status updates regularly and create FB events as needed
Ensure the CLFM website is up to date including current copies of Rules and Regulations, manager contact information, market dates, upcoming music and events, special activities etc.


Farmers Market Set-Up & Tear Down

Saturdays approximately 7-8:30 and 12-1:00
Hourly pay depending on agreed upon tasks.
Multiple applicants may be considered for a shared or alternating schedule.

Day prior to market:

Set up farmers market yard signs around town (per map).

On Market Day:

Before Market

Arrive at market sufficiently early to have all set up completed by 8:30
Hang/display the current vendor layout map for vendors to find their space
Be available during vendor setup and to answer any questions.
Coordinate short term vendor stall assignments and adjust stall layout/assignments as necessary in the case of a park car or other obstacle
Update “chalk” signs with info about music, special events, sponsors, and in-season produce
Place all on site signage prior to market opening (welcome signs, “chalk” signs, flags and banner etc.)
Pull trash cans into place and set up cones if needed
Set up benches by music, and canopy for musician
Set up “welcome booth” and “special events booth” (i.e. set up tables, canopies, etc.)

After Market

Return tables, canopies, benches, signs, banner, flags, etc. to the trailer.
Ensure that the market area is clear and free of debris after market close
Pick up lawn signs around town.

2019 Vendor Open House

It may be snowy outside but we’re thinking spring! The 2019 Clear Lake Farmers Market season begins on May 18th and our market board and volunteers have been busy planning. All returning vendors and those interested in becoming a vendor are invited to this open house style gathering on Sunday, March 3rd from 1:00 to 3:00 at 18 N 3rd St, Clear Lake (Simply Nourished) to socialize, snack on local goodies, ask questions and hear about all of the exciting things that will be happening at market this year!

Interested in becoming a vendor? CLICK HERE for more information!

Thanks to Simply Nourished for allowing us to use your space! For those who are not familiar with the store – Simply Nourished carries many local products and sponsored a weekly healthy snack for children at market every week last year.


Thank You for Another Great Season!

Thank You for Another Great Season!

Andrea Evelsizer – Board President

Another Farmers Market Season has come and gone so I want to share the
highlights from 2018. The market has been growing each year since we moved
to the Surf parking lot and this year we hosted 52 vendors, 29 of which
attended for the full season. Each week you could shop from an average
35-40 vendors ranging from fresh produce, eggs, meat, honey, and baked
goods to handmade soaps, jewelry, rugs, pottery and other handcrafted
items. This year we welcomed 18 youth vendors selling items like fudge,
pet toys, apples, coffee, baked goods and more. The youth vending program
has been a great success and we hope to grow this in future years.

We enjoyed live music each week, by local musicians, and held five
cooking/taste testing events in a partnership with Healthy Harvest of
North Iowa and their Charlie Cart mobile kitchen.

All these successes can be attributed to the great support of our city,
chamber of commerce, local business sponsors and the shoppers from near
and far. We often hear that visitors to Clear Lake are shopping at our
market and that we’re known to be the largest market between Des Moines
and the Twin Cities.

Specifically, the Clear Lake Farmers Market board and vendors would
like to thank all of our wonderful sponsors for their support this year,
including: CDI Inc., Kingland, Hall Realty, CLTel, and Ray and Terri
Mulford. Also, thank you to the Surf Ballroom for the use of your parking
lot, Simply Nourished for the snacks at the youth activities table and to
all the volunteers, vendors, and loyal customers.

Even after the market ends there are still ways to enjoy local products
during the off season. Healthy Harvest of North Iowa has a database on
their website ( where
you can search for local food products such as meat, eggs, honey, fall
crops (squash, pumpkins, potatoes, carrots, onions etc.) and purchase
directly from the farmers. Many farmers are willing to deliver to you.
Simply Nourished Market (downtown, to the east of City Park) sources as
much as possible locally year round and the Hy-Vee stores in Mason City
are sourcing more and more local product from North Iowa Fresh, LLC. (,
Kittleson Potatoes, and other local growers. Also, many of our vendors
will be attending holiday arts and craft shows, so keep an eye out for

Thank you for a great year, it was really fun! We’re look forward to
seeing you next year!

The Gangs All Here!

The Gangs All Here!

By Ashley Stokke

There may be the chill of fall in the air and a subtle stillness
of children back into the classroom, but don’t be deceived! The Clear
Lake Farmers Market gang is ALL HERE!!! That’s right. This time of
year there is an abundance of delicious fall produce and a bounty of
beautiful fall ornamentation that our market vendors are thrilled to be able
to offer to their customers. Fall season produce takes on a natural sweetness with cool nights and is a delicious addition to your dinner table.

If you didn’t already know it, the Clear Lake Farmers Market is open
WELL into the fall season to offer you the freshest produce and
ornamentals possible. The market is open every Saturday now through the third
weekend in October! Our final market day will be Saturday, October 20th, so
there is lots of time to come out and enjoy all of the wonderful flavors,
sights and smells of fall. And don’t forget about our amazing artisans
and talented crafters. There are some amazing products available that
would make lovely holiday gifts! It’s always nice to get some holiday shopping out of the way early.

I’d also like to take a minute to say what a wonderful season it
hasbeen so far at the Clear Lake Farmers Market. There have been
great turnouts every week and the vendors do such a fantastic job of
being consistent with their customers. The music has been a wonderful
treat to market goers as well as the children’s activities and Youth
Vending days. It is vital to the future of our market to get these young entrepreneurs involved in local food production, vending, and just being a part of a farmers market. It really is such a fun place to start your Saturday morning in beautiful Clear Lake.

See you at market!