May 8, 2011 in City, Idaho

Rathdrum market opens under soggy sky

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Farmers markets around the region

Several other farmers markets around the Inland Northwest are open or will open soon. A partial list:

  • Tuesday Growers Market. Tuesdays, 4:30-6:30 p.m., through second week of October. Moscow Food Co-op parking lot, 121 E. Fifth St., Moscow, Idaho. (208) 882-8537.
  • Kootenai County Downtown Farmers’ Market. Wednesdays, 4-7 p.m., through September. Fifth Street, between Sherman and Front, Coeur d’Alene. (208) 772-2290.
  • Kootenai County Farmers’ Market. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., through Oct. 29. Corner of U.S. Highway 95 and Prairie Avenue, Hayden, Idaho. (208) 772-2290.
  • Millwood Farmers’ Market. Wednesdays, 3-7 p.m., through Sept. 28. Outdoors at 3223 N. Marguerite Road. (509) 924-2350.
  • Rockford Farmers Market. Weekends, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., June 4-Sept. 18. Rockford Park. (509) 892-4412 or (509) 291-3722.
  • Clayton Farmers’ Market. Sundays, noon-4 p.m., June 5 through growing season. Clayton Community Fairgrounds, 4616 Wallbridge Road on Highway 395, Clayton. (509) 590-3353 or (509) 276-9644.

The rain fell Saturday, which kept vendors and customers away. Still, organizers of the Rathdrum Farmers’ Market remained hopeful business will pick up as the weather clears.

“Last year, we were busy every day we were open,” said Pam Jensen, market manager and owner of Pam’s Jams.

Located at City Park in the shadow of Rathdrum Mountain, the market usually features 25 to 30 vendors, Jensen said, but heavy rain dissuaded many from setting up their stands on opening day.

Four vendors did brave the bad weather.

Jensen said that on a nice summer day, more than 200 customers visit the market, which takes place on the first and third Saturday of each month through the first weekend of October.

Customers, too, were put off by the rain, though a few trickled in throughout the day.

“We have been kind of surprised, actually,” Betty Gibson, owner of Granny’s Greenhouse, said of Saturday’s sales. “I didn’t think we’d do that good.”

But the nature of outdoor markets dictates sales are weather-permitting and in constant flux.

“It’s so varied you can’t really say an average,” said Gibson, who sells vegetable starts, herbs and flowers.

When the market is in full swing, it will feature local farmers, food vendors, artisans, craftspeople and musicians.

“That’s what people want,” Jensen said. “Homemade, homegrown, homespun.”

Krysta Bell set up shop at the market to promote her magazine, Krysta Bells Muse Letter, and recruit writers to enter the magazine’s writing contest. The magazine features pieces on nature, spirituality, entertainment and other topics.

She said the farmers market is the perfect place to recruit local writers and advertisers.

“It’s our hometown,” she said. “How else to get up and running but to talk to our hometown people?”

Bud Brisson, owner of Solar Home Specialists, showed off the effectiveness of solar energy. He’s been living off the power grid for 18 years. His booth displayed how two solar panels – even under an overcast sky – could produce enough electricity to fuel eight light bulbs, a computer, a phone charger and a large flat-screen television.

“We started last year,” he said. “We did good. (There was) a lot of interest. We’re just basically working to educate people that renewable energy is viable in this area.”

For the vendors present Saturday, their aversions to the inclement weather conditions were overshadowed by their passion for their craft and love of all things local.

“It’s sharing something that I’ve created,” Jensen said. “The local people, I just love talking to. And I love all the vendors. We’re like a family.”


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