It doesn’t get fresher! Farmer’s Market in full swing

Eleanor Guerrero
CCN Senior Reporter
Thursday, September 5, 2019
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Photo by Eleanor Guerrero
The array of highly nutritious, local vegetables cannot be beaten. Get there while it lasts since it closes later in September.

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The Farmer’s Market is in full swing at Lions Park every Friday from 3:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. Its time to get the freshest vegetables and fruits and there are only a few weeks left. 

It doesn’t get better than corn being shucked from the field and brought straight to the market. The Gallagher’s Farm in Clark, Wyoming is a tradition at the market and offers a range of meats and fresh veggies. The variety at the market grows yearly with items from fresh honey to bruschetta. 

One returning farmer said while he is not certified organic, he uses no pesticides and offers quality vegetables at reasonable prices. He is open to a little bargaining and often throws in a few extras if you are buying more than a few. He had zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes, and peppers. One woman kept hesitating while trying to pick out the best tomatoes. The elderly farmer smiled and picked out the ripest for her himself. It was an opportunity to chat about his farm and the season so far. His peppers had suffered a little in the wet season so he had marked the small ones down to only fifty cents each. Others had onions, leeks, eggplants, and potatoes. 

The Farmer’s Market is often underestimated and is a crucial chance to support local small farms and local food. The Organic Trade Association’s Laura Batcha says public education will go a long way to communicate and increase the appreciation of crop value. Batcha says if the public understands food value it will help farmer of all sizes thrive in the market.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, of all the farms in the U.S., organic and non-organic, two percent of the biggest family farms make 35 percent of the total market production.

Prices may be higher but the farmers stress the assurance that it is high quality, freshest available produce with little time from farm to table to maintain peak nutritional value. A little higher price may be crucial to allowing them to compete and exist with the ever-growing threat of the industrial farms that are swallowing up more Montana small farms every year. 

According to Montana Public Radio, “Jason Moore founded Montana Co-Op in 2012, in Polson. Moore says food hubs where consumers can buy local produce are important in bringing value to local products. He says, ‘What’s happened is that the big food companies are figuring out ways to produce cheaper, and not necessarily healthier. And because of that, it put a lot of small farmers out of business. It’s difficult to compete with mass operations, and we know what we have to do to take back our food economy.’"

If a large farm industry fails or is unable to distribute to this area, local farms will not only be more convenient and fresher, they might be life-saving for a community. If there are no local farms, people here would fare as poorly as in any city where goods are not delivered and shelves go bare.  The TV has frequently shown such photos in various types of natural disasters, where shelves go empty in stores if supplies are a week or two late. 

It is the independence of the food supply that adds to the importance of local quality. It is right in line with the “buy local” credo that Red Lodgians ascribe to in the effort to support their community and the independent streak native to Montanans. 

The Red Lodge Farmers Market is a time of families renewing acquaintances, enjoying the company and music and games that often are part of the fair-like atmosphere. Even the dogs seem happy to see each other. 


The Carbon County News

Street Address:

11 N. Broadway, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 970, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Phone: 406-446-2222

Fax: 406-446-2225

Toll-Free: 800-735-8843

Open: Monday-Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.