Blossoming to new heights

Danielle Boerson, right, sells fresh, certified-organic produce at the farmers market. submitted photo

by Joe Schulz

The Farmers Market at Town Square offers locally grown organic produce, handmade crafts from local artisans, ready-to-eat food and live music Friday afternoons.

The market opened its summer season May 26 and will run Fridays from 3 to 6 p.m.

Green Lake Renewal Marketing Manager Jorge Gutierrez believes the summer market adds vibrancy to the community.

“Having people drive into town and seeing this festive atmosphere is important because it shows people that there’s stuff going on in town and it promotes the idea that people should come into town more often,” he said.

When Gutierrez first got involved with the market it only had about 10 vendors. He noted that last year the number of vendors jumped to between 15 to 20 vendors on a given week.

“This year, we already have that many vendors signed up,” Gutierrez said. “I would also like to have live music on a regular basis. Last year, I had to reach out to musicians in the area and work with them to come and perform.”

Gutierrez added that the market is only possible because of the people behind the scenes setting up, and the hard work of the vendors.

“It’s really a team effort around here,” he said. “It’s kind of like there’s this cycle of chicken or the egg type of thing where you need people to come in and purchase stuff, so vendors want to come in and sell their stuff.”

Market vendor Danielle Boerson of Boerson Farm sells certified-organic produce and grass-fed beef at the market.

Boerson got involved with the market in 2010. She noted that shortly after she participated the market moved to its location outside Town Square.

“That has been a really nice spot because it’s more visible,” she said. “I would say the market kind of peaked in terms of vendor participation in the last couple of years.”

Boerson noted the farmers market is a community gathering place that brings people and food together.

“There’s been kind of a renaissance of people seeking locally produced produce and meats and other handmade baked goods and things,” she said.

She noted growing organic produce is more difficult than growing non-organic produce. The choice to produce organic lines up with Boerson Farm’s ideals.

“We are very much opposed to the widespread use of chemicals on our environment,” Boerson said. “Organic is obviously a step towards producing food for people without the use of chemicals.”

Boerson believes the farmers market provides customers with better access to cleaner food and more traceable sources of meats.

“I really believe that health and well being is largely centered around our diet and we have a lot of processed foods in the American diet,” she said. “And once you start looking at what’s going into those foods, you can see a connection between a lot of the diseases that we’re encountering today and what we’re putting into our bodies.”

Market vendor Hayden Holbert from Avrom Farm started going to the market since he was 13 when it was still across the street from the Green Lake Area Chamber of Commerce and only had four vendors.

Holbert lives in what was once his grandfather Lester Schwartz’s home, where he grows five acres of soon-to- be certified organic, mixed vegetables. He holds a degree in sustainable agriculture from Warren Wilson College and runs the farm with his girlfriend, Olivia Delaune.

Though the market has grown over the years, Holbert noted it still gives small farmers a valuable outlet to sell their goods.

“I really hope that the community can support the market because, for a lot of [vendors] who are going there, farming isn’t their part-time job. That’s what they are making a living doing,” Holbert said. “We really rely on the community support.”