Category Archives: What’s Happening

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

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.

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!

Celebrating Local Food

The Clear Lake Local Foods Committee is planning their 5th annual local food event for October 6th, 2018 from 4 to 7 p.m.   CLICK HERE for more information.  This year’s potluck style event will be a celebration of the bounty of our locally-grown food at the Central Gardens of North Iowa and will feature hot, homemade soups made with fresh, local ingredients. This family friendly event will include yard games, folk music and gift drawings.  There is no charge for the event but your free will donation is appreciated!

You Bring:
Potluck dish to share – local ingredients are encouraged!
(side dish, bread, salad, appetizer or dessert)
Lawn chairs or picnic blanket
Your own place setting and drinks.

BIG Thank You to CL Tel for the generous music sponsorship, Furleigh Fruit & Vegetable Farm for the pumpkins and gourds for the center pieces, Central Gardens of North Iowa for being a great partner and the following businesses for donating to our gift basket: Simply Nourished, Mossycup Farms, Natural Plus Nursery, Clear Lake Farmers Market, Cerro Gordo County Public Health, Healing House Herb Shop and North Iowa Fresh.
The goal of the Clear Lake Community Farm to Fork Dinner Committee is to provide an event that brings local food producers, local food establishments, and the community together in an effort to strengthen awareness and build relationships. We view local food as a tool for community and economic development, as well as for improving public health. In addition, fresh local food just tastes good!  Proceeds from the previous dinners have been used to help fund the improvements that were made to our Clear Lake Farmers Market, kick start the Share Life summer Kids Cafe, and purchase plants for the Central Garden’s Bee Happy garden. We have many ideas for exciting future projects!

Learning Opportunities

The Clear Lake Farmers market offers more than just fresh products and handmade crafts. It is also an opportunity to connect with your kids and provide a variety of opportunities for learning and fun. Each week the market offers a Kid’s Activity table or area. The activities throughout the season will be focused on four main themes, Crafts, STEAM, Physical Activity, and Nature. Continue reading