Jennifer Morsell once had a retail store in Fairbanks, Alaska, but after moving to Coeur d’Alene, she started Mountain Madness Soap Co., making her own natural soaps and bath products in her home studio. Made from 60 percent olive oil, with palm oil and coconut oil making up the balance, she’s been at it for five years.
“I started using an old Italian recipe, then perfected it through trial and error. It’s really complex, a lot more complicated than people think,” she said.
Morsell is one of many vendors at the Kootenai County Farmers Market. The Wednesday market from 4-7 p.m. is in downtown Coeur d’Alene, and the Hayden market, on the northeast corner of Highway 95 and Prairie Avenue, is held on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Kootenai County Farmers Market manager Gail Cassidy said the Coeur d’Alene Downtown Association takes the permit out and blocks Fifth Avenue from Front Street to Lakeside Avenue to provide space for the vendors.
“This is a large draw for downtown because it’s a family event,” said Terry Cooper, the Downtown Association’s manager.
Cooper estimates 500 to 700 people visit the downtown market every week, and about 2,300 each week in Hayden.
“I love the market, love the people,” Morsell said. “One of the best things about it is the social aspect – with like minded people.”
Cindy DePaulis has been bringing her lavender products to the market for many years. She has a private farm where she grows the lavender, selling plants at the market, along with sachets, eye pillows and essential lavender oil which she distills.
“It’s good for burns – takes the pain away in 10 to 15 minutes,” she said.
DePaulis said it’s slower this year, but she’s finding first-time gardeners are buying the plants.
“People are just saving money,” she said.
Al Riendeau was representing White Cane Sockeye Salmon. The company brings fresh salmon in from Bristol Bay, Alaska. In White Cane’s third year at the market, he agreed this year is slower, but that salmon is good food and plenty of people were buying.
Bows on Toes is certainly eye-catching, with ordinary flip-flops from Old Navy, decked out with colorful bows and other decorations, drawing attention to that fresh pedicure. In her first year at the market, Melissa Wells created Bows on Toes to raise money for cancer research. All proceeds from sales will go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Wells will participate in the Breast Cancer three-day walk in Arizona if she raises $2,300. She decided to make a product rather than just go door to door asking for money.
Art Boyman with Tonnemaker Hill Farm out of Royal City, Wash., handed out samples of delicious apple crisp. This is his second year at the market.
“We had a good year last year and are doing well this year,” Boyman said. He also sells organic fruits and vegetables, with cherries coming soon.
At the Designers “3” booth, Mary Claflin said her daughter got her into making jewelry. In her second year at the market, she uses semi-precious stones, hematite, Swarovski crystal and wood to create necklaces, bracelets, bookmarks, sun catchers and earrings.
Juaquetta Holcomb of Garden Party Fibers buys fleece from local wool growers, spinning it into colorful yarn. “I’ve always enjoyed knitting and the fiber arts,” she said.
Holcomb also sells completed pieces such as hats, vests, and mittens and teaches knitting and spinning. She said the market has been great for her.
The downtown Coeur d’Alene market will run until the end of September and the Hayden market until mid-October. Special events include Feast with the Farmers Aug. 11, when a local chef creates a gourmet meal from food from the market. It’s a sit-down dinner with white linens. Ticket prices for this year have yet to be set, but last year the event was $45 per person.
The Harvest Festival will be held Oct. 24 downtown with help from the Downtown Association. “We celebrate the end of the harvest year,” DePaulis said.
Fall Fest in Hayden is Sept. 26, with scarecrow making contests, pumpkin painting and much more.