Tahlequah Farmers’ Market now open Tuesdays
Westville,Okla., farmer Chou Xiang, right, sells lemon squash to a customer June 29 atthe Tahlequah Farmers’ Market. The market is now open on Tuesdays andSaturdays. PHOTO BY CHRISTINA GOOD VOICE
TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – Area growers brought freshly picked produce to the Tahlequah Farmer’s Market June 29, the first day the market was open on a Tuesday.
The market is usually held from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays, but the TFM board of directors wanted to give people another opportunity to attend if they aren’t able to make Saturdays, Denise Crowley, a TFM board member and grower from the Cherry Tree community in Adair County, said.
“We’re really excited to get to offer this in the evening for those folks that can’t be with us on Saturday at our other location,” she said. “Today is our first day. We’re excited we’re able to offer an additional market.”
The Tuesday market is scheduled from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday at Norris Park in downtown Tahlequah through the market season, which ends in October.
“We are providing the community with locally grown, fresh foods, fresh veggies, fresh fruits and upon occasion we’ll be able to offer fresh made loaf breads,” Crowley said.
In addition to produce and breads, patrons can purchase homemade soaps and lotions.
Crowley, who owns Phil’s Farm, sells peaches and cream corn on the cob, broccoli and heirloom tomatoes, among other items.
Grower Ron Cook, of Dry Creek Farm in Moodys, is the market’s only certified organic farmer. He works a half-acre farm with mules and grows okra, tomatoes, onions and potatoes and said the market is a great place to sell produce.
“It’s nice to be able to sell your stuff anywhere and anytime,” he said. “I’ve wanted to sell my produce since I was 16. (The market) is nice for farmers and gives them a place to sell their produce.”
Cook said growing organically is challenging, but it’s worth it for him because he’s carrying on a tradition he learned from his grandparents.
“It’s a lot of hard work. It’s probably five times as much work and maybe one a half times the price (of non-organic produce) if you’re lucky,” he said. “They (grandparents) brought me up that way, and I do it (more) for tradition than for business.”
Many market items sold are freshly picked, some just hours before the market opens, and often cost less than produce sold in grocery stores, Crowley said.
“We try to stay competitive,” she said. “But let’s be honest. The stuff in the store – and no offense to our friends with stores – was trucked here. We don’t have that overhead. All we have is our time, energy and seeds...We can offer fresher things for a lower price.”
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WHAT’S RIPE IN JULY?
Potatoes (reds, whites, and blues)
Swiss chard, lettuces
Snow and sugar snap peas
Squash – straight neck, crookneck, zucchini, acorn, butternut, butterstick, Patti pan, scalloped, sunburst, winter squash, spaghetti
Peppers – bell peppers of all colors, jalapenos, Serrano, habanero, poblano, black Hungarian, Anaheim chilies, Sweet Banana, cayenne
Beans – green beans, pinto beans, black eye peas, Royal Burgundy beans
Tomatoes – Every type you can think of reds, yellows, striped, greens, blacks, purples, pinks, whites, in cherry, pear, paste, small, medium, and large, then also colossal. Some are organically grown, some use non-genetically modified organism seeds, a lot of heirlooms, then the regular types you can get wherever seeds are sold.
Melons - Cantaloupe and watermelon
Herbs – basil, dill, mint, thyme
Breads – Ginger Spice Applesauce, Italian Green Olive, baguettes, whole wheat
Meats – Lamb including chops, Beef - including roast, steaks, and ground, Cornish hens, chicken
Craftsmen include yarn makers, dog treat makers, soap and lotion makers Saturday Seminars at the TFM:
July 10: Sewing with Sally Lewis, Cooking with Tom Lewis with the Project O Si Yo
July 17: Cover Crops in the Garden with Julie Gahn, Tahlequah Community Garden Coordinator
July 24: Sewing with Sally Lewis, Cooking with Tom Lewis of Project O Si Yo
July 31: The Beauty and Practicality of Seed Saving with George McLaughlin, Seed Savers Exchange Member
A special event for July will be the salsa contest and the tomato contest. Salsas must be made with locally grown tomatoes and peppers and will be determined by a popular vote of vendors and customers. For the tomato contest, judges will see who has the most unique tomatoes in several categories.