Perry Farmers Market wraps summer season, announces fall dates

COURTESY OF PERRY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Special to the Chief

The 2021 summer season of the Perry Farmers Market ended on Sept. 30 after 18 weeks of providing a place for shoppers and vendors to connect and an outdoor space for community members to gather. Highlights included the return of monthly themed events with special guests, monthly produce giveaways thanks to the Perry Public Library and the expansion of alternative currency programs – one of which thanks to the Perry Area Emergency Food Council through a grant from the Bock Family Foundation.

“In total, $2,340 ‘extra’ dollars flowed into the Perry Farmers Market this summer thanks to those alternative currency programs that we were able to introduce this year," said Perry Chamber Director and Farmers Market Manager Lynsi Pasutti. "We saw fewer SNAP transactions than I would have liked, but I hope we can continue to grow awareness for that opportunity. It is all a win-win for our community – bringing more people to the market which helps it grow, but of course also providing that financial assistance to broaden access to fresh foods and supporting independent producers, too.”

Just shy of $800 in Double Up Food Bucks were redeemed by shoppers, which they received when paying with SNAP benefits either at the farmers market or Fareway stores and could use to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. The Food Pantry’s Market Dollar program distributed $1,860 to 297 households, $1,400 of which were used at the market and redeemed by vendors.

“Both of these programs – the Food Pantry Market Dollars and the Library’s produce giveaways – were true examples of the power of collaboration among community partners,” Pasutti added. “I give thanks to both Lou Hoger and Mary Murphy for their creative and unique outreach programs, partnering with the Farmers Market and having such a positive impact on our community.”

The weekly summer markets drew an average of 250 shoppers each night and upwards of 400 during themed events with special guests, which included Health and Wellness Night, Public Safety Night, Back to School Night and Public Works Night. Attendees are encouraged to take an end-of-season survey to provide feedback on the market and to help grow it in future years. The 10-question survey can be accessed at www.surveymonkey.com/r/PFM21.

By popular demand from both shoppers and vendors, a series of fall markets have been scheduled to take place at the Perry Public Library Community Room on the third Saturday of the month – Oct. 16, Nov. 20 and Dec. 18. These fall markets will be limited to 6-10 vendors per market but are expected to have a wide variety of offerings, including seasonal produce, jams and jellies, fresh baked goods and handcrafted items. All alternative currency programs will be honored at the fall farmers markets unless they have an expiration date.

Especially as the market moves indoors this fall, shoppers are reminded of best-practices and encouraged to help keep others healthy while at the market. This includes staying home when feeling unwell, maintaining six feet between other shoppers when possible, wearing a face covering during the market especially if unvaccinated, and washing or sanitizing hands before and after the market.

For more information on the Perry Farmers Market, visit www.perryia.org/farmers-market.html or contact the Perry Chamber of Commerce at (515)465-4601.

Mike Carter sells Karen Kline a flower bouquet at the Hidden Acres booth during the Perry Farmers Market on Thursday, July 15.