Despite the snow showers in Mexico early Wednesday morning, it is spring, and vendors of the 2013 Mexico Farmer's Market have a bounty of fresh fruits, vegetables and produce to prove it.
Twenty vendors are scheduled to be on hand from 8-11 a.m. Saturday at Hardin Park in Mexico.
Janet Brown, president of the Mexico Farmer's Market, said there is new produce being offered this season, and a few new vendors as well. The Sweat Equity Farm in Auxvasse will join the market roundup, selling quail eggs and other produce.
"This will be something new at the market this year; something we hope will do well. We will also have the standards like eggs, jams and jellies, pork, beef, baked goods, early greens and lettuce, along with flowers," Brown noted. "We're looking forward to opening day, and invite everyone to come out and see our local produce. We have several vendors with high tunnels that have allowed them to get started and be ready in time for the market."
Items available at Saturday's opening day include: lettuce, spinach, eggs, pork, beef, radishes, alfalfa sprouts, quail eggs, jams and jellies, fruit syrups, a wide variety of bedding plants – both floral and vegetable, fried pies, baked goods including breads, annuals, perrenials, blackberry, rose of sharon and lilac bush starters; gourmet dog biscuits.
Vendors participating this year will include:
• Davis Orchard, Rebecca Selovich, Thompson
• Country Harvest Farm, Alan and Pam Davis, Wellsville
• Brown's Country Meats, Herb and Janet Brown, Centralia
• Skull Lick Produce, Katherine and Ward Andrews, Centralia
• Sweat Equity Farm, Caroline and Brad Anderson, Auxvasse
• Mild To Wild Acres, Mark Penn, Kingdom City
• Maxwell Gardens, Tom Maxwell, Mexico
• LOBO Farms, Steve and Linda Wolf, Mexico
• S and M Produce, Sonny and Mary Orth, Centralia
• Crigler Farms, Brian, Carol, Zane and Bret Crigler, Paris
• Callaway Fields, John Graham, Auxvasse
• Binder's Hilltop Apple and Berry Farm, Sandy Binder, Mexico
• Cow Patty Blossoms, Sam Sudbrock, Centralia
• Prairie View Farms, Bob and Ruth Standford, Mexico
• West Fork Poultry, Deanna Peak, Wellsville
• Jim and Mary Johnston, Paris
• Red Brick Farm, Jennifer Holland, Sturgeon
• John Smith, Mexico
• TNT Produce, Tony DiBlasi
• Master Gardeners
Brown said new monthly promotions have been added to increase market attendance and support. On opening day, attendees will receive a free tree (while supplies last) to kick off the growing season and Arbor Day, which is the day before opening. The local Master Gardeners will be helping distribute the trees and offer planting tips.
Page 2 of 2 - On May 18, the market is hosting a children's activity, called "Plant a Vegetable Day." Participants will be able to bring the plant back later in the season for a vegetable contest. The market will also continue its basket giveaway, that is filled with market goodies. A winner is picked each week.
Brown said visitors this year will also have the opportunity to meet the vendors, and learn more about their operations. Each vendor will have information and photographs of themselves and their produce at their booths. "We're calling it a 'Meet the Farmer" tour. The market's message this year is: "Buy local, buy fresh, and eat better."
Mexico Farmer's Market also has a Facebook page (www.facebook.com/mexicoareafarmersmarket). Brown said vendors are willing to speak with area organizations or at events about the market and what part they play. If interested, call the Mexico Area Chamber of Commerce and schedule a date for a vendor to visit.
"Consumers today want to know where their food comes from. So we're hoping the 'Meet the Farmer' tour will be a good promotion,"Brown said. Other promotions throughout the season, she said, will be focusing on the nutritional benefits of buying fresh, local produce.
Weekly listings of upcoming market produce are printed in The Mexico Ledger, broadcast on the local radio stations and at www.facebook.com/mexicoareafarmersmarket.
Rebecca Selovich with Davis Orchard in Auxvasse said they will have lots of different varieties of apples – Gala, Empire, Winesap and Braeburn, to name a few. The family-owned operation also has other fruits and vegetables to offer. Selovich has been involved in the Farmer's Market circuit about 10 years. This year, she said, will be her third year selling in Mexico.
"It was my stepdad's idea for us to get more involved in the farm, so we could learn about growing something for people that works. We started out with a sweet corn patch. We also learned how to be responsible and develop people skills from sharing the produce," Selovich said. She and her family have been actively involved in 4-H numerous years, and conducts most of their business in Mexico and the Columbia area. "I'm really looking forward to this season, and hope that the community is excited for things to start back up again."
The sound of a whistle blowing at 8 a.m. Saturday means the market is open for business.
"We look forward to seeing you there," Brown said.
Anyone interested in becoming a vendor should contact the Mexico Area Chamber of Commerce at 573-581-2765 for more information.