For those who don’t already know, I volunteer my time and services with not only the Somerset Beekeepers, but also with the Madison Farmers’ Market. As market manager, I serve local farmers and the communities of Madison-Anson, as well as the surrounding area.
I’m privileged to work with some really great farmers, gardeners, and artisan crafters. We have a group who are dedicated not only to the long-term success of our market, but also to the success of agriculture in our local area. I am very proud of this market and the people who make it happen.
At long last our little market is able to accept EBT. This is all thanks to my friend and fellow-farmer Maria Reynolds of the Yellow Place Bakehouse in Solon, who stepped up to take on the responsibility of wrangling the funding and wading through the red tape to make it happen. At a time when my life was in shambles, the farmers who make up the Madison Farmers’ Market stepped up to help make our market a success and I am so grateful, inspired and empowered. This is what makes the local food movement so encouraging–the simple fact that people want to see it succeed, they’re vested in it, and they will go out of their way to get involved and make stuff happen.
Our market is in it’s third year and has grown from 2 to 8 vendors. Our farmers are committed and go out of their way to make sure there are at least 3 of us there in the Main Street Park in downtown Madison every Sunday. Typically that’s not an issue unless it’s raining, lol. Rain makes for a miserable market, and it is our faithful local patrons that brighten those gloomy days for our farmers.
This year we plan to offer the community our first winter market. I’m currently working to secure a location for an indoor market and I’m recruiting new vendors too, to join our Madison Farmers’ Market. We’ve decided the winter market will run through the holiday season before it breaks for the new year.
It’s been a tough season for Runamuk because of my situation. I debated whether or not it was even worth it to participate in the market this year. I had no bees, very few chickens, and since I spent the winter trying to find a new home for my farm–I had very little product available. But as market manager I feel a sense of obligation to be at the market, to support my vendors and my community. What’s more, despite the fact that Runamuk is still in it’s infancy, I have a dedicated customer base who have become accustomed to seeing me at the market.
It was a hard decision. I conferred with my vendors and ultimately decided I would conitnue to attend the market as a vendor with whatever I have available, but reserved the option to skip the occasional market or to leave early should I sell out of product. In this fashion I have managed to maintain a presence there.
Yes, it’s hard for me to show up with just a few dozen eggs and a handful of soaps and salves; it’s hard to field the requests for honey, having to inform my customers of the loss of my colonies over the winter and the circumstances of my farm–how we’ve had to move and rebuild our momentum. But I do, I am, and I’m happy to be able to continue what I started even if it is in a reduced capacity.
This week is National Farmers’ Market Week. Many local markets are hosting special events or promotions. Be sure to stop by your local market to show your farmers some appreciation!