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Experience The Boise Farmers Market

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“Farmers You Can Trust, Food You Can Trace” is the heart and soul of the Boise Farmers Market.  Located downtown Boise at Ninth and Grove, locals and out-of-towners alike have the opportunity to connect face-to-face directly with their food source—that is, your farmer, your retailer, and your vendor.  This Saturday, I went to check things out.

The Boise Farmers Market, also nicknamed “the food market”, is open every Saturday from 9am to 1pm, come rain or shine.  Customers are encouraged to bring their own grocery bag.  However, if you forgot one, there is a plentiful supply of canvas bags for sale at the information booth.

This passed Saturday, I went early to see how this whole production runs.  As early as 7am, vendors start trickling in to unload their trucks and prop up their white tents for shade.  By 8am, vendors are carefully arranging their onions, peppers, and peaches into beautiful displays.  By 9am, customers and spectators are rolling in.  Of course, this does not include the customers that came an hour early to wait in line for seasonal strawberries from Smith Berry Farm, which sell out by around 11am—you have been warned.

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More than just getting your week’s groceries, the Boise Farmers Market provides a snapshot of what it really feels like to be a local in the Boise community.  Some visitors come for a full fledged breakfast of fresh brewed coffee, eggs, bacon, waffles, and donuts.  Other customers come a bit later for tacos and kombucha.  Looking for gift ideas?  Local wines, raw honey, seasonal flowers, and Boise t-shirts offer impromptu gifts you might need to keep on stash– don’t forget these gifts and foods come with the added value of stories and the personalities behind them.  Didn’t bring enough cash?  No problem!  The market has an ATM machine.

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The market has a local following, that’s for sure, and one may find themselves going back to the same vendor week after week as relationships are formed.  In addition, hardcore locals come for hard-to-find items just not readily available at other stores.  For example, looking for raw unpasteurized yogurts, kefir, and cheeses?  Many states are not allowed to retail these highly valued commodities.  However, Idaho is one of them that does.  With that being said, it’s still very difficult to source raw, unpasteurized dairy products from cows and goats except for places such as the Boise Famers Market and the Boise Coop.  At the market, look for vendor Feathers and Horns.

There’s a little bit for everyone at the market.  From Purple Sage Farms, Mike Sommer, and his wide variety of fresh herbs grown from his greenhouses to Rancher Steve Campbell and his custom-made beef.  Visit a while and Steve will have you convinced that the way he breeds, raises, and feeds his cattle produces the best ratios of Omega 3 to Omega 6 Fatty Acids (even better than wild salmon he’ll claim).  Visit with Steve even a little longer and he may gift you with a modest bag of mineral salt or bentonite clay.   Then there is food retailer Sevana Sorayan on her family’s locally produced hummus—void of oil and preservatives—and packed with the goodness of local ingredients, such as the herbs she uses from Purple Sage Farm.

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Please note that in November the market will move indoors, which has been in the BODO area at Eighth and Fulton.  Nevertheless, check out the market’s website for any updates and changes.  See you there!

Jennifer Mac