Tag Archives: know your food

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 (www.healthyharvestni.com) 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. (www.northiowafresh.net),
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
those.

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

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!

Local Food and the Local Economy

By Marissa Fichter

Clear Lake. It is a wonderful place to live. One of the most endearing
parts about Clear Lake has been its ability to help small, locally-owned
businesses thrive.

However, even with a great local variety of products, we regularly
choose the convenience of driving to a big-box store for routine
purchases. There, we can expect to find a blemish-free tomato and
perfectly sized zucchini. In doing so, we exchange a chance to impact the
local economy for the convenience of a one-stop shop, losing the valuable
relationship with those who produce our food.

Somewhere in our minds, I truly think we desire that relationship. We
also desire to play a part in something bigger, like impacting the number
of local jobs and revenue.

Even so, some think that the idea of a community supporting its local
agricultural system is out of reach. Ultimately, it starts with each one
of us. We can make that impact together.

In fact, a 2013 study conducted by Iowa State University (Enderton,
Bregendahl 2013) comprehensively showed the impact of the local food
economy. It showed that across the state, if the 74 food buyers who
participated in the data collection increased their local food buying from
9 percent to 30 percent of their total food budget, Iowa’’s economy would
gain $21.5 million in one year. That number blows me away. Only 74 people.
When that money is circulating locally, it is more likely to generate
economic growth as well.

It is beneficial in more ways than simply growing Iowa’s economy. When
we purchase locally, we can also be sure that a larger fraction of the
money we spend goes directly to the person who grew and put in the work to
create a beautiful product.

In my opinion, buying local is a great way to show appreciation for the
talents and gifts of others in our community. This simple act also allows
us to know our community deeper. The more faces we recognize and know, the
more we make this little vacation town a “home.”

I encourage you to begin your journey by knowing your farmer. Begin
recognizing the North Iowa Fresh (NIF) labels, the deep red strawberries
from Red Shed Gardens (Forest City), the familiar, sweet flavor of carrots
from One Step at a Time Gardens (Kanawha), and the crunchy sunflower
shoots from Twisted River Farm (Mitchell). Does the sticker on your
butternut squash say it is imported or traveled a long way to make it to
the grocery store, or is the “sticker” a clump of dirt from a
freshly-picked fruit?

It would be nearly impossible for this vision to become a reality if
local goods were only available during a three-hour window every Saturday
morning through the summer. This is why it is necessary that businesses in
the area share the responsibility to support local. It is great getting to
see crops from familiar farms and faces popping up all around North
Iowa.

Those who cannot make it to the Clear Lake Farmer’s Market are not out
of luck. Instead, the same local products and produce are currently
available in multiple locations. One of the largest catalysts making this
possible is North Iowa Fresh. The staff at NIF have worked incredibly hard
making local produce accessible at larger grocery stores like HyVee. NIF
has also sought out smaller businesses like Simply Nourished (local,
organic grocery stocking exclusively chemical-free produce) to sell local
produce as well as restaurants like Fieldhouse (Clear Lake) and Cafe Mir
(Fertile).

This cross-marketing of local produce is allowing local food to make an
appearance in a typical Iowan’s life. The more places this food is
available, the more normal it becomes to buy local over imported.

A huge thank you to the vendors who attend Clear Lake Farmer’s Market
and to other contributors helping to grow the local food market beyond
Saturday mornings. We look forward to the continued growth of a
sustainable, local agricultural economy.

Local Honey – Sweet and Healthy

By Judy Delperdang

Satisfy your sweet tooth – and feed your health – with honey from the
Clear Lake Farmers Market.

“If you’’re looking for a sweet treat, there’s nothing better,” said Riley
Finer of Finer Honey Farms.

And honey is good for you.

“The benefits for allergies is what I promote with our customers,” said
Tammy Fuller of Honey Dome Farms. A teaspoon a day “ will help build the
immunity to the allergies that most people have reactions to.”
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Local Meat Options At Market

This year at the Clear Lake Farmers Market we are fortunate enough to have a variety of meat and eggs available.  Several of our vendors offer farm fresh eggs and duck eggs are available every other week.  Whole chickens can also be preordered.  We have 4 producers this year who offer cuts of either grass fed or corn fed beef and 2 of those also offer custom processed pork by the whole or half.  To see which vendors will be at market with meat and eggs each week you can visit our website where we have an interactive market directory: www.clearlakefarmersmarket.com/market-directory

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To All The Newbies

To All The Newbies
By James Eilders, Clear Lake Farmers Market Board Member
As a first year board member, and a city boy I was a little worried to come to market. I knew that the people at market spoke a different language. Words like microgreens, artisan, and heirloom are foreign to me. I was afraid that I would be in over my head and everyone would know I don’t belong.

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‘Popover’ and check out the home baked goodness…….

I’m sure the first thing you think of when you think of a farmers market is the bounty of brightly colored fruits and vegetables available, but did you know that you can find some delicious, homemade breads and other baked goods as well.  The Clear Lake Farmers Market offers several vendors that showcase a variety of their ‘made with love’, delectable treats. We have everything from sweet and savory breads, to pies, cookies, cupcakes, bars and more. And of course, you can’t forget the oooey, gooey cinnamon and caramel rolls that are just begging to be served with a great cup of coffee.

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