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Co-op market promotes sustainability
Published 5/22/2013 6:00:00 AM
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Jason Parsley stands behind his produce, answering his customers’ questions.

Parsley, owner of Omache Farm, said being able to have laid back conversations with the community is one of his favorite parts of the Tuesday Grower’s Market.

The market developed after a vendor approached the Moscow food Co-op with the idea of providing a space for farmers to sell their produce in between the farmers markets, said Market Coordinator Britt Heisel.

A midweek market allows for farmers to have an outlet for foods that need to be harvested between the Saturday market, Heisel said.

Vendors can also reach a part of the community they don’t always see.

The market focuses on supporting local farmers who grow food in a sustainable manner, Heisel said. Because of this focus the market only features food grown or made within 50 miles of Moscow.

"(Our guidelines) are pretty strict," Heisel said. "We don’t allow crafts. For our value added items (items like jam made from berries), the grower has to have grown one ingredient to sell it at the market."

Parsley, whose farm qualifies as sustainable, said the variety his farm offers helped turn into its own ecosystem. Between their vegetables, pigs, chickens and sheep, Omache Farm has been able to live in a more sustainable manner.

In addition to enabling Parsley to sell a wide variety of products, he uses the market to reach a part of the community they don’t always see at the other markets.

Marci Miller, co-owner and farmer at Deep Roots Farm, said she also appreciates the opportunity to develop more of a connection at the smaller Tuesday Grower’s Market.

"We actually have time to talk in detail and really get to know our customers," she said. "We can really get a sense of what people want at that market."

Miller said the market is perfect for beginning farmers learning marketing skills. The bigger farmers markets can be a little overwhelming for those just starting out, she said.

Besides produce or other food items, Heisel said there will also be a couple of food vendors at the market. The food vendors must also make their food in a sustainable manner. One of these vendors includes Mobile Woodfired PRLR Pizza Parlor.

Ashley Douglas, co-owner of PRLR, said she is excited to take on their first year at this market for reasons similar to those of Miller and Parsley. She said she is looking forward to working on a more personal level with their customers.

"We have the chance to make one-on-one connections and get to know our community, as well as connect with local farms to use their products in our pizzas," Douglas said.

The market is held in the Moscow Food Co-op’s parking lot on Tuesdays from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. through October 8.

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