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Farmers’ Markets offer fresh fruit, vegetables and baked goods – plus fun for families

by Warren Bottino

Looking for inexpensive fun, good food and bargains? Check out the Sierra Farmers’ Market – Nevada’s own certified farmers’ market – beneath the shaded trees of Lampe Park.

You will find a wealth of farm- fresh produce brought directly from local Nevada and California certified farms. But there are many more benefits to an open air farmers’ market.

Consumers get freshness. Where store-bought produce is generally picked five days in advance before being boxed and processed, farmers’ market produce is picked the night before, which means better nutrition and better value.

Many times vendors will lower the consumers’ cost of obtaining goods and services because the market is an inexpensive way to sell their wares in a friendly but competitive business environment. It also gives vendors a chance to exchange information and build a reputation for trust and quality.

Also, it’s enjoyable to conduct business face-to-face with owner/

operators who have direct ties and personal commitments to the products they sell. The atmosphere is more spontaneous than other retail environments, and there is always the potential for the element of surprise.

The farmers’ market was the idea of market manager Sharon Rusk. Sharon grew up a farmer’s daughter in Oregon, but it was her year of college in Austria where she realized her passion for open-air markets.

As Sharon saw markets grow in popularity on the West Coast, she decided to organize her own in the Lake Tahoe area. The first market opened in 1995 at Kahle Park and soon after, a second at Lampe Park. It is important to Sharon to operate the markets in Sierra mountain park settings.

The list of vendors is long and colorful. Returning is the Tahoe Bread Company, a Swiss bakery, family-owned by Pete Volgt, that specializes in breads, pastries, sauces, marinades and seasonings. Patrick from Mountain Produce has nine varieties of tomatoes, including purple, pineapple, zebra and heirloom tomatoes. CC will have jewelry comprised of real leaves hand dipped in gold, silver or bronze. Tony from Krafty Korn will be on hand to make his product on site with a giant kettle and Home Fire Creations brings pottery and glycerin soap.

Valley vendors include Johnson Lane Farms, an organic Nevada grower, and Olsen Family Farms, specializing in organic peaches, and Hoss will be back behind the Vegetable Patch. Ray Fasel will be selling hand-painted garden gnomes and the Doggy Bag Deli has doggy biscuits tested by neighborhood dogs.

The Sierra Farmers’ Market will open June 7 and run from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Come taste the benefits of nature.

For further information, contact the recreation department at 782-9828.

Warren Bottino is a recreation supervisor with the Douglas County Parks and Recreation Division.