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Farmers market draws crowds to Lampe Park

by Merrie Leininger

Like a scene from a folktale, the townspeople mingled as the farmers sold their wares from colorful tents and booths.

This medieval imagery is not drawn from a book, but from the present-day Farmers’ Market at Lampe Park.

The market is held every Wednesday morning from 8 to 12 and while new customers come every week, mostly you will find regulars walking from booth to booth with bags of fruits and vegetables in their arms.

Audrey Nelson of Gardnerville said she has been coming every Wednesday since June.

“I love it. Everything is delicious and fresh. I try to give all the vendors a try. We appreciate them so much,” she said.

Nelson said she often meets friends at the market. Wednesday they decided to go to breakfast together after they were finished shopping.

Candy and houseplants. You can find sugar-free candy and houseplants at Gale Mullis’ booth.

Mullis of Gale’s Candy travels to the market from Carson City every Wednesday.

She said she has been at the market since the beginning of this year and has several repeat customers.

“The people who come are like me – who shouldn’t have sugar,” she said.

Another unique item she has for sale is a velvet philodenderon, a plant she said most people aren’t aware exists. She also sells spider plants, ivy plants and sword plants.

If you are looking for fresh vegetables, keep walking down the aisle until you come to the Johnson Lane Farms booth, operated by Darrell and JuDee Craig.

Darrell Craig said it was only their second time at the market, but they planned on becoming regulars.

“It’s a good way of meeting people and making good contacts,” he said.

By 10:30 a.m. they had already sold out of their tomatoes, which had just started to ripen, Darrell Craig said. But, they still had plenty of baskets full of a colorful mix of all-organic vegetables – from beans and peas to sweet and hot chilies and different types of cucumbers and eggplants.

Diane Finders of Minden said she comes every Wednesday because of the healthy vegetables that aren’t available elsewhere.

“Everything is just beautiful,” she said. “Everything is home grown and vine ripened and picked the night before.”

Tomatoes were high on her shopping list that morning, along with avocados and peaches – although she wasn’t in a hurry to get finished.

n Friendly people. “All the people are very friendly and it’s a nice little excursion,” she said.

Maresa Morer had traveled from Oregon to sale her Poco Pedro pistachios, from the second oldest pistachio farm in the United States.

She has traveled to larger events such as Hot August Nights, but she much preferred the small farmers’ markets.

“I love doing produce markets because these people are committed to the freshest and healthiest produce,” she said. “This is just putting money back in the families’ pockets and this is a wonderful community that supports its produce market.”

The market is doing well, said market manager Sharon Rusk and about 14 vendors were at Wednesday’s market.

Rusk said people have told her they prefer coming to the shaded Lampe Park location rather than the old spot at the Carson Valley Inn.

“For a lot of people it is a weekly routine. I see the same people from week to week,” she said.

The farmers come in from the area and from as far away as Lodi and Chico, she said. They only have to call a week before to reserve a spot which costs about $25, she said.

“We have room to spare and hope to someday be able to fill the parking lot area,” she said.

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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