While market-fresh shopping has hit a peak in popularity in recent years, Edmond Farmers Market has highlighted local growers and craftsmen since 1988.
Multiple rows of vendors at Edmond Festival Market Place, 30 W. First St., stock everything from vegetables, fruit and cheese to soaps, honey and fresh flowers. There are native Oklahoma wines, cedar planks made for grilling, homemade salsa and preserves and fresh-baked breads and scones.
For many, the market is a tradition. Some vendors have sold produce for decades, when it was held in a nearby parking lot. They still set up stalls every Saturday.
It is this commitment to both community and quality that keeps Greg Loman coming back.
He and his son own a farm and landscaping company and have been participating in the Edmond Farmers Market for five years.
For Loman, it’s about “putting quality product out there [and] making sure the right stuff is out there for people.”
Getting to know the customers and providing them with produce — the Lomans sell everything from cherry tomatoes to watermelons — is one of the best parts of the job, Loman said.
He and his team are at the market at 4 a.m. every Saturday, and he’s adamant about selling top-quality produce.
Lettuce be together
Each week, the market buzzes with the sounds of people talking and laughing. Regular customers greet vendors and watch as they refill bins with peaches, peppers, squash, berries, tomatoes and corn.
The vendors are as intent on the freshness of product as the customers. Travis Marak, who heads up the Urban Agrarian van, has been coming for four years and said he’s passionate about bringing people meat and produce that’s straight from Oklahoma farmers, assuring consumers food is safe and conscientiously grown.
The second Saturday of every month expands and extends beyond foodstuffs by incorporating local craftsmen. There is woodworking, arts and crafts, soaps and household products and many other items to supplement the array of food and plants.
Soon, there might be more vendors and more products, but for now, the main problem is having enough space to expand without taking away parking, according to Farmers Market director Hayley Naph.
An apple a day
Integris Health hosts Ask a Doctor Day once a month, and consumers can ask doctors about health issues and the benefits of fresh food. Soon there also will be music from students of the University of Central Oklahoma.
The farmers market isn’t only a place for commerce; it’s a community meeting place. The allure for customers and vendors is getting to know people who share a passion for getting the freshest, healthiest products, as well as supporting a sustainable community.
“People come for the social aspect. The produce is the bonus,” said Naph.
The sense of community makes the straight-from-the-farm food all the more delicious. For Naph, getting to know the vendors has been the best part of running the market.
“Everyone is friendly and welcoming,” she said.
The Edmond Farmers Market runs 8 a.m.-1 p.m. each Saturday through October.