The Deerfield Farmers Market kicks off on Saturday, June 15.
It will run Saturdays, 8 a.m. to noon, through October, in the parking lot of Deerfield Lutheran Church, 206 S. Main St.
After many years of being loosely organized, the market was incorporated as a non-profit in 2015, with a 5-member board of a directors and a Friends of the Market fundraising program.
That followed several years of it being overseen by a now-defunct group that was trying to open a grocery co-op market in Deerfield.
Terry Armstrong, owner of Armstrong Orchards in Lake Mills, has sold at the market for several years. He said he’s watched organizers make a good effort to promote it. Armstrong sells apples, pears, cherries, plums, some canned fruit items, and occasionally some small baked “breakfast/snack” pies.
He said his most popular product has been fresh frozen apple cider. Other vendors sell honey, flowers, crafts, woodworking and various locally made products.
The market has a Facebook page and a website: deerfieldfarmmarket.com. Armstrong would like to see the promotional efforts continue.
“I think we just need more exposure so that the maximum number of people know that we exist and where we are,” said Armstrong.
Jerry Bastian, who sells hand-made wooden puzzles, signs, and jewelry, would like to see the market grow with more vendors and more community groups holding fundraisers there.
In a typical week, the market draws 8-12 vendors, in addition to community groups who regularly set up booths to sell everything from pies to brats, as fundraisers. Local 4-H groups have even brought fair project and animals to show.
“We need to add more food producers and also have special groups like Boy Scouts, 4-H, and church groups throughout the year,” Bastian said.
On the calendar, so far, for this season, is the St. Paul’s Liberty Lutheran Church women’s group, that will be selling homemade pies June 29 and July 27. Other local groups that would like to be added to the calendar can email: email@example.com.
“I wish more vendors would come out,” agreed Lyn Meyer, president of the market’s board, said it has, however, become a popular summer gathering place for local residents.
“The best thing to me is that the market has become a social event. A lot of people walk their dogs up and down Main Street, and kids will ride their bikes down to the market,” said Meyer.
Unlike most other farmers markets, where there is a booth fee and required pre-registration for sellers, vendors sell for free in Deerfield and can simply show up with their produce or locally-made goods, and a table. The Friends of the Farmer’s Market Program generates some revenue in the absence of vendor fees, as does the weekly sale of coffee.
In 2018, the market made its first appearance at Deerfield ChiliFest. It will return to ChiliFest again this year on Saturday, September 28, starting at 9 a.m.
The Deerfield Farmers Market is part of the Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program, which helps low-income people to pay for fresh, local produce.
For the fourth year, the market is partnering in 2019 with Deerfield High School’s art program to have a student design its official poste
This year’s chosen artist is Olivia Tatlock. Her poster can be seen on the market’s website and Facebook page and will be displayed at businesses, the Deerfield Public Library and other locations in the community.
More information: firstname.lastname@example.org.