Meet Your Farmer Monday

It is Monday! Today we highlight Eagle Lake Gardens. 

Bill from Eagle Lake Gardens farms his family acreage that goes back 120 years! It was not his life plan to return after completing a masters and PhD but circumstances brought him back to Iowa. 

Eagle Lake was an original vendor at the Clear Lake Farmers Market more than 10 years ago and has seen a lot of changes as well as growth to the markets! He then expanded to the North Iowa Farmers Market soon thereafter. 

Bill is grateful for the markets and their support over the last decade! He also appreciates ALL the customers. “Some even drive out to our market stand to buy extra produce as well as support my business!” I could not do it without them. 

Another reason Bill sells at the farmers markets is his appreciation of the educational and extra programs. Such as youth vending which gives kids a chance to develop skills and love farming. “These help

Support our farming community and teach children to engage in their local food systems.”

Bill sells produce! And a large variety throughout the season. Cucumbers, asparagus, radishes, lettuces, tomatoes, green onions,

So many fresh and locally grown produce we could never name them all. 

The markets appreciate Bill’s dedication to farming and feeding our communities! If you haven’t shopped at Eagle Lake with Bill find him Tuesday and Friday at NIFM. As well as every Saturday at CLFM. 

Thanks Bill!

Celebrate with us!

National Farmers Market Week

Help us celebrate National Farmers Market Week, August 2-8th, 2020!

Check out our contests on the social media pages. Instagram as well as Facebook. See how to enter and what you’ll win! And find simple ways you can show your love of Farmers Markets across the nation! But specifically, North Iowa’s Farmers Market, right? 

We have “I love Farmers Market” tattoos to give away as well as a coloring page contest so pickup your tattoos and coloring pages at the Farmers Market the week of July 27-31st. Enter your pictures online by tagging North Iowa Farmers Market or using the #NIFM. Each age group and one tattoo picture will be a winner. Email all coloring page entries to niowafarmersmarket@gmail.com by Saturday, August 8th. The Board at NIFM will announce a winner at the opening of market on Tuesday, August 11th.

We love everything about Farmers Markets and we know you do too. So join us in celebrating!  

Meet Your Farmer Monday

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Mervin created Red Rooster Ranch in St. Ansgar, Iowa just a few months ago! 

Growing up Mervin helped his family on a dairy farm right here in Iowa with his 8 siblings. Mervin has since gotten married and has 3 young children. As Mervin established himself on his own, Red Rooster Ranch was established on the foundation of healthy foods with no additives. 

“We should be shocked at the amount of chemicals and additives that are in our foods that should not be!” Mervin is a seed and soil consultant as well as a farmer. “You won’t find anything extra in our food. It tastes better, it is healthier, has more nutrients your body needs and it makes a difference to you, our customers. We want you to know what you are eating. And we don’t need labels to inform you because the food is pure!” 

RRR is a new vendor at the North Iowa Farmers Market this year. They sell farm fresh eggs, herbs, seasonal produce of all kinds and pork, beef, chicken, liver, ox tails. (Yep! That is correct) 

As well as beautiful flowers in arrangements. 

Red Rooster Ranch is a safe sustainable farm for the land as well. “We take care of our animals, the soil and impact we leave for future generations is fundamental to everything we do!”

“When you pick food before it is ripe and then ship it across the country you will find it doesn’t taste very good and think about the impact that has on our environment. We grow food right here in Iowa that should stay in Iowa!” 

The food you buy from Red Rooster Ranch has been careful selected from the start! The carefully selected seeds are planted by Mervin and his siblings; who grow it, pick it, and then sell it to you directly. There are very few hands that move your food. And that matters to Mervin and it makes a difference to his customers. 

“You feel better when you eat real food!”

I created Red Rooster Ranch so you’d recognize the difference food makes when it is grown seasonally, locally and with healthy practices. You can taste the difference and you’ll feel better as you eat it.

Red Rooster Ranch sells at a few farmers markets in the area. In Mason City on Tuesday and Friday from 4-6:00 pm, in Osage and in St. Ansgar. 

We’ll see you at the Farmer’s Market!

We are Looking for a Market Manager for 2020!

We are on the search for a Market Manager for the 2020 season. We believe in the benefit of this role as a key to the success of our market. Ideal candidates should be personable to both vendors and customers and physically able to set-up/break-down each market day. Our Board is open to a co-manager proposal.

Please review our Market manager position description. Interested parties should submit an application using the form below by Wednesday, May 6th.

 

Tomato Tuesday! September 10th!

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This September 10th, you don’t want to miss out on the extravaganza of tomatoes we’ll have available at Market!  Try each vendors tomatoes and vote to see who offers the very best ones!  We’ll be celebrating all the bounty of the upcoming harvest with a special focus on TOMATOES!

Vendors will have both heirloom and commercial varieties for your discerning palate to try.  Many offer enough quantity for canning. Once you find the perfect tomato, dinner will be a snap!

Don’t forget we’ll have activities for the kids as well! Join us from 4 to 6 on Tomato Tuesday!

 

OPPORTUNITY: POP Club Coordinator

We are looking for a coordinator for our inaugural Power of Produce Club.

The Power of Produce (POP) Club is a farmers market-based program that seeks to teach children about fruits and vegetables through fun market activities.  POP Club youth participants receive a $2 voucher to spend on the foods of their choice at the market. POP was developed by the national Farmers Market Coalition; all materials are prepared and available through NIFM membership.

This is a six hour per week, paid position and candidates need to be available for June 11 – August 20 Tuesday markets. Ideal candidates enjoy working with children and have good organizational skills. Additional details are listed in our  POP Coordinator Position Description.  Interested parties should submit an application using the form below by Monday, May 20.

WE’RE LOOKING FOR A MARKET MANAGER!

Update: this position has been filled. Keep an eye out this season to learn more about our new Market Manager, Robin McClelland!

We are on the search for a Market Manager for the 2019 season. We believe in the benefit of this role as a key to the success of our market. Ideal candidates should have be interested in growth of the farmers market in Mason City, personable to both vendors and customers, physically able to set-up/break-down each market day, and willing to manage social media accounts. Our Board is open to a co-manager proposal.

Please review our Market manager position description. Interested parties should submit an application using the form below by Wednesday, March 6th.

 

How to Find your Favorite Local Market Goods in the Winter Season

Our summer market season may be over, but your access to the area’s best, locally produced goods doesn’t have to end! The Farmers Market at the Willowbrook Mall Winter season is underway, providing consumers with their favorite local goods now through December 25th.

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Beth Smith of Rosehill Farms is a vendor at the Clear Lake Farmers Market and also participates in the Farmers Market at Willowbrook Mall. Beth’s jams and jellies are a crowd favorite, particularly her pepper jellies.

The Farmers Market at Willowbrook Mall operates every Friday, from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. at 1631 4th St. SW, Willowbrook Mall in Mason City. This market features a variety of vendors from both the North Iowa and Clear Lake Farmers Markets offering a wide selection of goods and products including baked goods, jams, jellies, honey, farm fresh eggs, treats, crafts, fresh baked breads and more!

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Feature Friday: Eagle Lake Gardens

On a 300 acre farm near Britt, Iowa Bill Rasmuson farmed corn and soybeans commercially for years. Still living on his same childhood farm, Bill fondly remembers the memories made there, especially the large plot of raspberries they grew every year. For Bill, agriculture is in his roots, a part of who he is. It seemed natural then in his retirement to take up produce farming.
Bill, an accomplished scholar and longtime lover of the land, has transformed the family farm to produce a wide variety of produce including tomatoes, garlic, herbs, carrots, radishes, lettuce, asparagus, rhubarb, eggplant, cucumber, peas, green beans, zucchini, watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe, pumpkins, gourds, apples and more.

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The latest addition to the selection at Eagle Lake Garden’s booth at the market includes cute, painted pumpkins! 

“I do a lot of double cropping in the short Iowa growing season, allowing me to produce more without having to prepare and use more land,” Bill says. “Every time you put a seed or a plant in the ground, you have to be thinking ahead and have a plan. Crop rotations are crucial in this business.”

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Feature Friday: Mary’s Farm Fresh Brown Eggs

Gary and Mary Tomlinson have always had a passion for caring for animals and raising livestock. They milked dairy cows, raised draft horses and many other animals through the years. They also enjoyed caring for chickens, pigeons and guinea fowl. They never dreamed that this hobby would turn into a small business after their retirement.

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In addition to chickens, the Tomlinson Farm has many furry friends including goats, cats and a dog.

Living on a farm west of Manly, Gary and Mary have about 80 ISA Brown chickens, 40 banty (smaller breed) chickens, 10 goats, numerous cats and a Saint Bernard. The farm fresh eggs they sell at the market come from the ISA Browns, beautiful golden brown layer hens. These cage free chickens spend the evenings in the comfort of the barn and in the daytime in a pen outside where they can hunt and peck for insects. In addition to what the chickens find outside, Gary mixes a balanced ration that he feeds the layers to ensure a healthy diet for high quality egg production. The eggs are gathered each day and washed before selling. Once the eggs have been washed however, they require refrigeration because washing the egg removes the natural layer of protection that an egg has when it is laid.

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