Robert Fuller (left) of The Honey Stand hands Juanita Deucici a toothpick with a dab of honey on it to tickle her taste buds, as Kathy Pierce decides if she will purchase a jar. This was the first Farmers Market of the season held at Sawmill Crossing, Saturday, May 29.
Photo by Andy Towle.
Thank gosh it’s summer finally. The Farmers Market is back.
Fresh local produce, cheeses, baked goods, herbs, and even dog treats — the Payson Farmers Market is the spot to pick up goods, mingle with neighbors and take in the Rim Country’s perfect weather.
Shoppers and vendors delighted at Saturday’s kickoff event in the Sawmill Crossing parking lot, the events new, larger location.
Vendor Richard Maranville, owner of Terra Verde Farms, said Payson’s market has a great small town feel that reminds him of Prescott, where he lives. Maranville credited market organizers John and Lorian Roethlein for putting together such a well organized and successful event.
On Saturday, Maranville set up tables under a large canopy with jars and bottles of custom preserves, dry rubs and sauces piled high. Maranville said he creates 120-gallon batches of products once a week at a commercial kitchen in the Valley. Through trial and error, Maranville creates blends, such as blackberry lavender sauce and raspberry cocoa dessert topping that excite the pallet.
“I play with a lot of different flavor combinations,” he said. “We have fun with it.”
Maranville, who worked in restaurants for 24 years, said working for himself and traveling around to farmers markets is a welcomed change.
“I got sick of working in a kitchen constantly, this is something different to do that gives me a chance to see beautiful backdrops, like Payson.”
Carolyn Czech, a student at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute, doled out samples of homemade cheese at the Rainbow Valley Farmer’s Cheese booth. Czech said all of their cheeses are made with milk from Gila Bend cows. None of the cheeses have preservatives or anything artificial in them and they are gluten free and lactose intolerant friendly.
Working with the products from beginning to end is great for Czech, who not only helps make the cheese once a week, but then gets to sell it to customers.
“You see the food business from another aspect besides at a restaurant,” she said. “I definitely want to work with sustainable foods as a chef.”
Besides cheese and preserves, vendors offered a wide array of products from Hawaiian coffee, fresh baked breads and baked goods (including the delicious apricot bars from the Red Elephant Bakery and Café), gnocchi, hummus, fresh vegetables, olives, salsa, flax seed flat bread, all natural dog treats, tamales and free range beef, just to name a few. The Farmers Market will run every Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon through Oct. 16.