A special Mother’s Day farmers market was held in Troy on Friday, May 12, kicking the market season off earlier than ever before in Troy. The season’s first official market will be held Friday, June 2 from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. outside the Troy museum.
Despite cold wind and intermittent rain, approximately 200 customers and 18 vendors attended Friday’s special event.
“This is the first year we’ve done this,” market manager Shawna Kelsey said. “But I think it will be an annual event now. While we usually are a produce driven market, for this special Mother’s Day market there were no limits on craft vendors, and we also had a lot of bedding plants for sale.”
Troy’s market was born in 2012, with Kelsey, as community development coordinator for local nonprofit Yaak Valley Forest Council, at the helm.
Kelsey remembers early markets when it rained and “it would just be me in my car waiting to see if anyone would show up.” For the 2013 season, vendors came equipped for a “rain or shine” market and the market grew.
By 2014, “we were a shopping list market,” Kelsey said. “I’d see people walking around with their lists and that was my touchstone for how the market was growing.”
In 2015, a grant for $58,000 from the U.S Department of Agriculture allowed the market to buy canopies for vendors so they didn’t have to haul them themselves, a refrigerated trailer to transport and store produce, and an apple press to make cider.
Although the market is an economic force for the region, Kelsey’s primary aim is to have the market be “a second home, the place where you feel the most comfortable after your home.” Kelsey and market assistant Cynthia Garrison, hired in 2016, would like to have more music and more kids activities to encourage a community event where people visit with each other while they shop.
At the first market of the season, and periodically throughout the season, Kelsey uses a counter to find out how many people are using the market. In 2016, the first market count was 200, double the attendees from the year before.
“We are growing through word of mouth, but also each new vendor has their own network that they bring to the market,” Kelsey said.