U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has proclaimed Aug. 7-13, as National Farmers Market Week. Since 2000, when the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) first proclaimed National Farmers Market Week, the number of farmers markets has grown 150 percent, from 2,863 in 2000 to 7,175 in 2011. According to the USDA, the Payson Farmers Market is one of more than 7,000 in the country and more than 100 in Arizona.
As part of the National Farmers Market Week, the Payson Farmers Market will host an exhibit of antique tractors and farm equipment from the Rim Country members of the Northern Arizona Antique Tractor and Engine Association.
The Payson Farmers Market began in 2009 with two farmers and 10 vendors. Currently it has four farmers, a backyard growers cooperative and more than 35 vendors selling a wide variety of products.
Among the products offered at Payson Farmers Market are breads and other baked goods, jams, jellies and honey, pickles, hummus, olives, oils and vinegars. There also are cheese, fresh made candies and chocolates, salsa, coffee, free range beef, and take home, ready to serve foods like fresh Italian food and amazing tamales. There are on-site chair massages; ready to eat breakfasts or lunches of burritos and pulled pork or sub sandwiches, and on occasion even a gourmet, all-beef hot dog.
Everything is grown or made by small family farms and businesses within 100 miles of Payson, 10 of which are located in Payson. The sales from the market are a valuable economic boost for the region, have created jobs and help bring tourist dollars into the Rim Country economy. organizers say.
The Payson Farmers Market is at the Sawmill Crossing and is open from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays. For more information, call 928-468-0961 or go online to www.PaysonFarmersMarket.info.
“Farmers markets are good for your health, good for your community, and good for the economy,” said Stacy Miller, executive director of the Farmers Market Coalition, a nonprofit organization supporting farmers markets across the country.
“During Farmers Market Week, we invite everyone to celebrate the freshest foods from America’s most entrepreneurial farmers by supporting their local farmers markets,” Miller added.