Summer just isn’t summer without the Farmers Market.
Well, it must be summer soon because the market opens on Saturday, May 24 from 8 a.m. until noon.
Each Saturday, Rim Country residents can tootle on down to the parking lot near the Sawmill Theatres to grab a cup of coffee, muffin or fresh pressed juice, listen to some music and gab with friends, then stock up on fresh veggies and fruits from Arizona high country farms.
The market also rotates in artists each week.
Founders Lorian and John Roethlein said 90 percent of the vendors will be at the market each of the weeks the market runs (May 24 to Sept. 27) and 10 percent will rotate each week.
“Mostly art vendors,” said Lorian.
The Roethleins are excited to welcome new vendors.
“Backyard Bakery with pies and gourmet popcorn; Abraham Faith Gardens; Crooked Sky Farms, Littlest Juice with fresh pressed juices; Claudine’s Kitchen with hummus, tabboulih, Lebanese bread, baked pita chips, hot sandwiches and babaghannouge; Southern Innovations with vinegars and hot sauces; and DeCio Pasta with homemade pastas is back full time,” said John.
Returning favorites include: Raimondo’s Italian Food, Tamale Store with hot breakfast burros and lunch tamales, Chef Jean with quiche, mac & cheese, biscuits and gravy, chili con carne, sausage rolls, beef pockets, sandwiches and gluten-free bread, Shrimp Ceviche Man as well as baked goods and pastries.
The Roethleins said they have live music scheduled once a month, while KRIM will provide background music the other weeks from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. Look for the Take Two Dance Band, Vibhas Native Flute, Celia and Bette Acker Native Flute for live entertainment.
For the kids, pony rides and the water play table will return each week.
Each month the market will host a special event, cantaloupe bowling, rock/paper/ scissors tournament, tomato launch, watermelon day, National Farmers Market Day with a tractor show and family photos.
And bakers, pull out those pie pans, the Payson Farmers Market will host a pie baking contest again this year.
The Roethleins have a lot they are excited about.
“Going into our sixth year and having received statewide and national publicity, we’ve been wait-listed since March for vendors wanting to get into our market,” said Lorian. “As a result, we’ve made the market bigger. So now we have 44 stalls with 100 percent of the products Arizona grown and produced.”
John said they have added new farmers, so 25 percent of the stalls will be fresh, organically grown produce, and as the farms are located from the desert to the mountain climate zones, they will have greater variety throughout the season.
As an added bonus, the majority of the farmers are WIC (Women’s Infant and Children Federal food assistance program) certified, so low income families and seniors will have access to fresh local produce.
“We love the support of the business community and their support of all the special events. But mostly we’re excited for our community getting together, having some fun, making new friends and helping our local businesses succeed, while having access to the freshest produce and gourmet foods,” said Lorian.