Labor of Love

Why do we choose to start new farmers’ markets?  I can tell you–it must be a labor of love.  We must be very diligent in our practices when launching a market, and it is not always easy; careful consideration goes into choosing the location, making sure that it is easily accessible to load, unload, visit and shop.  And that is just the tip of the iceberg.  For a behind-the-scenes look…here goes!

Location, location, location!  Is there access to bathrooms, electricity, and enough parking?  These  are the can’t-live-without basics.  Do we have enough vendors interested and committed to showing up every weekend to promote the market’s success?  Most people who have visited our markets realize rather quickly that all we offer at our markets is agricultural food, local food purveyors and small cottage goods.  It is not an easy feat finding enough of these high-quality goods to fill a market–after all, we live in a desert and many of our farmers are from the Wilcox , Sierra Vista, Ara Vaca and Marana areas.  Seven years ago, when the markets were in their infancy, we were lucky to have just a couple of farmers, but today I can happily say many more are coming out of the woodwork! Woo-hoo!

Did you realize that all of our vendors happily give up all of their weekends?  Traditionally, Saturdays are the biggest day for farmers’ markets.  Over the last few years, Sundays have made a comeback in Tucson.  The Tucson Farmers’ Market at St. Philips Plaza has become the largest farmers’ market in our region with special thanks to both the synchronicity of our customers and our vendors (we can’t have one without the other!).  But we’re not satisfied yet– there’s always room to grow.

So here we grow again!  On Saturday, October 15th we are launching our fourth farmers’ market, downtown at Maynard’s in the old train depot.  In this business climate, there is always trepidation in starting a new venture in an unproven place.  However, I listen to our customers and vendors who have been waiting patiently to participate in our markets.  It’s the love for what we do–providing the best possible local food, and supporting our local farms and ranches to boost small economic development–that gives us fuel, and we can’t wait to do it again.  The most important question is…are you ready?

Hope to see you at the markets!