“I try to buy local as much as I can-it keeps the money in the community,” Wapello County Farmers Market vendor Patsy Boas explains as she sells baked goods, eggs, cucumbers, pies, brownies, and sweet onions to passersby on Thursday.
Boas is just one of several vendors at the bi-weekly farmers market. Other market stalls sell produce like honey, homemade crafts, tomatoes, and green beans.
Though every vendor stall at the Wapello County Farmers Market is unique in its own right, all vendors share a common idea: buying local is a great move for everyone.
Customer Crystal Lute agrees with that idea. She says “we try to buy fruits and veggies local, as much as possible, and by what’s in season”.
Across the market, Stanley and DeAnne Reiley sell peppers and tomatoes, baked items of all sorts, and homemade crafts.
The Reileys started “marketing” some 6 years ago after their summer garden yielded a little too much produce to handle.
Relatives Esther Hurley, Dan Haines, and Rilynn Fenton sell honey, granola, baked goods, jams, and vegetables as a family unit with “regular customers who’ve become friends”.
Dave Davis, of Dave’s Mater House, sells around 13,000 pounds of “fresh, safe tomatoes” annually.
Davis says his tomatoes are raised in greenhouses without the use of insecticides or pesticides.
Vendor Kenny Selix has been selling sweet corn for the past 5 years with the farmers market.
Of buying local, Selix says “I think it should be the first choice”.
Market Manager Donald Harness says he enjoys talking to customers, sharing recipe ideas, answering produce questions, and meeting new people during business hours.
“It helps the local producers financially,” Harness notes of selling farm-to-table produce that’s grown here in southeast Iowa.
Harness says the market has been operating for some 5 years, but just this year has changed locations from the Family Video parking lot to the northwest sector of the Greater Ottumwa Park.
Harness adds that this week (August 7 through 13) is National Farmers Market Week, so now is the perfect time to buy local.
The Wapello County Farmers Market runs from 2:30 PM to 5:30 PM on Monday and Thursday afternoons from May to October.
To learn more about the Wapello County Farmers Market, call Manager Donald Harness at 641-680-6216 or visit the market Facebook page.
The Ottumwa Farmers Market (in the parking lot of the Quincy Place Mall) is another local alternative for community members.
Visit the Ottumwa Farmers Market from 3:30 PM to 6:30 PM on Wednesdays and 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM on Saturdays from May to October.
For more information about the Ottumwa Farmers Market, call 641-777-6437.