By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
Motley will soon be seeing tables set up on the south side of town and local farm producers selling their wares. The new Motley Farmers Market will open Saturday, May 24, and will continue through the summer and beyond.
With Motley, the Staples Area Farmers Market Association, a consortium of farmers, now run five markets. The others are located in Staples, Hewitt, Verndale and at Madden’s Resort.
The Motley market will be situated on the lots just south of the Motley United Methodist Church on the corner of Mill Pond Street and Third Avenue. Mark Fritz, owner of the property, has donated its use to benefit the community.
Site Manager Chris Malcolm, Motley, and co-manager Mel Wiens, Staples, are excited about the association’s newest site.
“It started last year, late in the year, when we set up at the Motley Fairgrounds,” said Wiens. “We had been at the Lakewood Hospital when it got cold and we wanted to move indoors.”
At the Staples Area Farmers Market Association’s board meeting in January, members agreed Motley should be added as a site.
“We approached the Motley City Council about sign issues,” said Malcolm. “We wanted a banner on a light pole plus four other signs within the city.”
The Motley Farmers Market will begin with about six producers from Motley, Staples, Bertha and Browerville. They have coordinated their stock so as not to double up too much and create competition among themselves.
During the first weeks of the growing season, lettuce, radishes, kale, spinach, rhubarb, asparagus and bakery items will dominate the tables. As the season progresses, more and more seasonal foods will be present.
“The great thing about the producers all belonging to the Staples Area Farmers Market Association is that they are able to set up at any of the sites, or all of them,” said Wiens.
While Motley’s market will be held Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Verndale’s market is Tuesdays, from 2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.; Hewitt’s is Wednesdays from 2:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.; Staples is Thursdays from 2 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. and Madden’s market is Fridays from 2 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
It will be easy for one producer to set up at all five sites.
Wiens and Malcolm are working on being able to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). That should be in place soon.
One new aspect of shopping at farmers markets is new legislation which allows customers to taste the produce before they buy.
“We will have a hand-washing station set up just for that,” said Malcolm.
The producers also wanted people to know that there will be no pets or smoking allowed at the market to ensure the safety and health of the market area.
Malcolm said that opening this market would not have happened without the community support behind it.
“With the amount of communication, planning, newsletters and advertising the Association has done, it should be a successful market,” said Wiens.