The Sedalia Area Farmers Market opened Friday for its sixth season with new vendors, plenty of spring produce plus upcoming treats for this year such as chef demonstrations, a harpist and a mobile deli.
This year the weather cooperated for opening day, too.
“No, snow! Last year we had to cancel because of snow,” said Brenda Raetz, SAFM market master.
The market will maintain the same Tuesday and Friday schedule except through the fall months, running from 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and 3 to 7 p.m. Fridays.
“The only difference we’ve made for this year is in September and October we’ll close at 6 p.m. both days,” said Beverly Rollings, also a market master. “We found that on Fridays once school begins, there’s football games … and really all the traffic is gone by 6 o’clock. Plus we start losing the light.”
Both women said during the next few weeks visitors to the market can expect to find a wide range of produce and other items. Jeanne Schwartz, of Show Me Produce, will be providing carrots, green onions, cucumbers, kale, spinach, rhubarb, lettuce and a variety of herbs.
Potted plants will also be available this month. Chantel Neal with Bristle Ridge Farm, of Leeton, will have potted plants, such as tomatoes and herbs and Clair and Susan Wadel, of Holden, will have flowering plants and spinach.
As spring progresses new vendor Lori Sartain, of Smithton, said she plans to sell eggs, strawberries, asparagus, radishes, zucchini, cucumbers, watermelon, yard-long beans and tomatoes. On Friday Sartain, who has owned her farm along with husband Mickey for 20 years, brought homemade marshmallows made into s’mores and homemade granola.
“She has a wide variety of produce,” Rollings said. “And coming up soon will be strawberries for her and Jeanne Schwartz.”
“It may be the middle of May before we have much tomatoes from anybody,” Raetz added. “We need warmer weather and sunshine.”
Also new this year is grower Matt Trammell, who lives near Warrensburg.
“Every year we do have news ones,” Rollings said. “I think we’ll probably have more new ones this year. We’ve got Matt Trammell with Trammell’s Treasures, they raise oyster mushrooms.”
Table of 5 Catering will be participating again this year with wood-fired pizzas and new this year is SAFM board member Laurel Carty with her mobile food truck, StrEats.
Market veterans Jim and Rosie Thomas of Share Life Farm, located at Marshall Junction, will be bringing their produce, broccoli, cauliflower, strawberries and spinach, to the market again this year.
“They are certified organic growers, they’ve been certified organicfor 25 years,” Rollings said.
“They’ve been with us since the beginning,” Raetz added.
The ever popular Vickie’s Pies made by Vickie Norton will be back as a vendor, Annie Albright will be bringing her molded herbal soaps and Franziska Malsy-Murphy, from Cole Camp, will be selling her Raintree bath and body soaps.
“She an engineer by trade,” Rollings said of Malsy-Murphy. “And she does the teas, cooking oils, and vinegars and lotions. She puts her degree to work. I love her stuff.”
“This will be her third season,” Raetz said. “She’s on our board this year. She’s just a joy and her products are amazing.”
“Especially the lotion, she put that in the Winter Bounty Bags,” Rollings added. “And it is excellent, it doesn’t feel greasy. She has bug repellents and a dryer spray that I just love. You just throw the clothes in the dryer and just mist it over the clothes.”
Both women said that the Winter Bounty Bag program went will this past season.
“It’s subscription only, so in our first year we offered 30 memberships,” Rollings said. “We wanted to start small and basically it was $20 per bag but it was a surprise what you were getting. We were going with what was in season and what was available. Most bags would have greens and eggs and bread.”
Sometimes Malsy-Murphy’s tea or lotion and Norton’s pies were included in the bags.
“It was 80 percent produce and 20 percent other,” Raetz added.
“It would be five to seven items in a bag, twice a month,” Rollings said.
SAFM is looking to gain additional members for next winter’s program.
“We’ll start plugging it right away,” Rollings said. “We had a long waiting list, it will all hinge upon vendors and what they will be having available. I don’t think we’ll have any difficulty selling at least 50 memberships for the winter but we obviously want to make sure we meet the quality expectations. But, it was a great way for vendors to make some income over the winter.”
“We were very pleased,” Raetz added.
Visitors to the market can also expect entertainment throughout the season. Mike Todd, of Warsaw, performed Friday and new this year will be Abbie Green, 16, the daughter of Alan and Brenda Green, of Sedalia, who will play a harp from time to time.
“Hopefully we’ll get Knobtown Skiffle Band,” Raetz said. “They’re so popular now.”
“Chantel Neal, of Bristle Ridge, it’s her husband,” Rollings added. “And they started out at our market, their first performance was at our market.”
“Now they have a CD and DVDs that they are making,” Raetz added.
“And they play at the City Market in Kansas City,” Rollings said.
“They’re kind of a ‘Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?’ they dress in that attire,” Raetz added.
Parents will also be happy to know they can concentrate on shopping at the SAFM while their children have a place to play on Fridays.
“And of course every Friday we have the Little Sprouts area,” Rollings said. “We will continue to have that every Friday weather permitting.”
The SAFM is open Tuesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. and Fridays from 3 to 7 p.m. It’s located inside the main gate of the Missouri State Fairgrounds on South Limit Avenue. For more information call Raetz at 281-7244, Rollings at 620-6841 or visit the SAFM website at sedaliaareafarmersmarket.com.