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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Feature Friday: Otto’s Wood Fired

When Steve Otto retired after a life-long career in the cement and concrete industry, he saw retirement as an opportunity to further explore his interest in masonry. This interest lead to the construction of a homemade, brick oven constructed from primarily recycled materials, including the bricks which were chunks of old concrete. Construction began in September of 2015 and one year later, Steve started using his creation for baking.

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In order to keep his costs down, Steve used primarily recycled goods to construct his oven, including the bricks which were old pieces of concrete.

It was difficult at first. Steve spent a lot of time figuring out just how to use the oven to make a consistent and delicious bread, including what the ideal floor and wall temperatures of the structure were ideal for baking bread. During this time, Steve made a variety of modifications to the oven, including insulating the structure.

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Steve made many modifications to his original design, including insulating the oven to better regulate the temperature.

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Feature Friday: Huntley Gardens

While Allen Perkins and his wife, Krista, were just finishing up a Ministry Internship in Kansas City and contemplating where life would take them next, Allen received an interesting call from his cousin, Lance. Lance Perkins, an organic farmer from Geneva, MN, had been approached by Wayne and Verlys Huntley, longtime fruit and vegetable farmers, looking for someone to run the farm as their children did not have interest in taking it over. While it was Lance the Huntley’s were pursuing, he immediately thought of Allen and his hard work ethic and called him up with the proposal.

With no farming or gardening background, Allen was apprehensive of the opportunity. “Initially, I thought there was no way I could do this. But God really changed my heart.” Allen said.

After touring Huntley Gardens and talking about the business side of the offer, Allen rolled up his sleeves and got right to work in the 2016 growing season. “More than anything, the first year was like an internship. I learned a lot about the farm and the way the business is run,” Allen reflected. “This year I’m taking on more responsibility and making more decisions”.

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After a year at Huntley Gardens, Allen has definitely got a green thumb!

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Farmers Markets Promote Sustainability

Article by Farmers Market Coalition 

Behind the rows of produce, busy vendors, and eager customers, farmers markets are a bustling hub of sustainability. Local farmers deliver fresh, local food to a growing number of shoppers demanding food that is not only healthy, but environmentally friendly. But farmers markets take sustainability a step further. They also ensure farmers can make a living off sustainably grown food, while providing an outlet where communities can find and purchase their products.

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Sustainability is the overarching theme in this system. Farmers engage in sustainable farming practices to produce healthy food to sustain the local community, who in turn provide the money necessary to sustain the farmers. Each shares in the success of the other in a mutually beneficial relationship that has become a model for sustainability.
Farmers who choose to use sustainable practices face a challenging economic climate dominated by large, corporate farms. Many find they cannot compete with the massive volume, low market prices, and government subsidies enjoyed by large operations.

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Feature Friday: Honey Dome Farms, LLC.

After a 29 year banking career, Tammy Fuller had a decision to make: relocate to Des Moines or lose her job with the Bank of America. Tammy didn’t want to uproot her life in Northern Iowa, leaving behind many friends and family so she decided to start her own business brightening people’s day with flowers. Tammy had always enjoyed flowers and putting together beautiful arrangements, so to test her future business idea, she started growing her own flowers and bringing in arrangements to work. Her co-workers loved her arrangements and gave her feedback. It was under these circumstances that Honey Dome Farms, LLC. was born.

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One of Tammy’s beautiful floral arrangements. Arrangements come in a variety of sizes to accommodate all budgets!

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