Story and photos by Ammie Bryant, Editor
Besides growing your own produce and raising your own livestock, there is no fresher source for groceries than the local farmers’ market. As the farm to table movement becomes more prevalent in the quest for high quality, healthy, nutrition-packed foods, the farmers’ market is an important food resource.
Begun in 1986, the Stillwater Farmers’ Market was created to allow area farmers and ranchers to sell their goods to the community. Vendors are required to grow or produce their products in Payne County or one of the five surrounding counties: Noble, Pawnee, Creek, Lincoln, and Logan.
Farmers’ markets cut out the middlemen and distributors which allows local farmers and ranchers to offer their products at a reasonable cost without the added mark up from third-party involvement. Because products are grown locally they are fresher, last longer, and offer better flavor, quality, and nutritional value than food that is grown and shipped in from thousands of miles away.
Available products depend on what is in season for the area. During the spring look for asparagus, onions, spinach, lettuce, kale, turnips, vegetable plants, and herbs. According to the Oklahoma produce guide these are also in season during the month of June: blackberries, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, peas, peppers, plums, potatoes, radishes, and summer squash. Later in the summer you can look for apples, beets, cantaloupe, okra, peaches, pears, sweet corn, tomatoes, watermelon, and zucchini.
Some products do not depend on the season, such as beef, lamb, eggs, and baked and canned goods. Whatever you find at the market is guaranteed to always be fresh and always local.
The location and hours of operation also depend on the season. From April 1 through August 30, 2017 the Stillwater Farmers’ Market is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays 8am to 1pm at Strickland Park. Additional hours are offered May 1 through September 24 on Mondays between 2:30pm and 5pm at the Stillwater Medical Center south campus on 12th Ave.
Starting September 2, 2017 the market will be held in the Pioneer Square parking lot through mid-November. Scheduled hours in September and October are 8am-1pm on Wednesdays and Saturdays. In November and December the Pioneer Square location will only be open Saturdays from 8am until 1pm.
The winter location for the Market is indoors at the NOC/Cowboy Mall. Current scheduled indoor hours are planned beginning in mid-November through March on Saturdays from 10am until 1pm.
To stay up to date on hours and locations for the market be sure to visit the market online at StillwaterFarmersMarket.com and find them on Facebook.