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

By: 
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. 

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Upcoming Events

  • Monday, September 16, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Joliet Group meets at the Community Center Monday at 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, September 17, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Now Group meets at the Bridger United Methodist Church, 222 W. Broadway (west entrance of church) Tuesday at 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, September 19, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Meets every Thursday, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, 122 S. Hauser. It is open to all. 425- 1755.
  • Thursday, September 19, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Clarks Fork Group meets at St. Joseph’s Catholic Hall, north end of Montana Avenue, Thursday at 7 p.m.
  • Friday, September 20, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Rock Creek Group meets Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. at Calvary Church, 9 N Villard, Red Lodge.
  • Saturday, September 21, 2019 - 11:30am
    Ross Orchards, located at 111 North Street in Fromberg, is proud to announce the opening of a farm stand this Fall. The orchard will be open Saturdays from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sundays noon - 5 p.m. starting Sept. 21 and closing Oct. 13. The orchard is working in conjunction with the Last Chance Pub and Cider Mill and Red Lodge Ales to offer fun, family-friendly events.   Every weekend apples, fresh apple cider pressed with apples from the orchard, apple pastries, local honey, food, hard cider, and beer will be available.  There will also be pumpkins and a variety of local produce for sale. Additionally, each weekend will have a different event. Sept. 21 - 22 – Cider and Salutations yoga 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Sept. 28 – A farm to table dinner at 5 p.m. catered by the Last Chance Pub’s chef Kevin McNourlin. The dinner will feature local foods paired with cider. Contact info@lastchancecider.com to reserve seats (limit 40) Oct. 5 - 6 - Kidz Dayz. Bounce house, pumpkin carving, face painting and tractor rides through the orchard. Oct. 12- Orchard run 5k. A family-friendly run/walk through Ross Orchards. Visit redlodgeales.com/orchard-days to sign up. Sam Hoffmann, President of Red Lodge Ales, remarked, “it has been fun to get to know John, Laura, Hilary, and Elizabeth Ross over the last ten plus years. Together we have pruned, picked apples, and made cider on a home brew level and now commercially. We are proud to share our work with the public.” John Ross, owner of Ross Orchards, adds, “The orchard has always been a source of pride and happiness for me.  Our family has enjoyed working with Sam and Lindsey Hoffmann and their employees. We look forward to the success of Orchard days.” Contact for more info: John Ross 406-671-9614, johnwalkerross@gmail.com; Sam Hoffmann 406-425-4607, sam@redlodgeales.net; Lindsey Hoffmann 406-425-3734, lindseyhoffmann406@yahoo.com  

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.