Last year at this time, a storm was brewing--both literally and figuratively--around the Boise Farmers Market. After a handful of vendors announced their split from the Capital City Public Market to start a more produce-focused farmers market at 10th and Grove streets, they ran into a licensing snafu with the city just days before their rainy opening.
But this year, the forecast for the Boise Farmers Market's opening day, Saturday, April 5, is looking brighter.
"[The city] rewrote a lot of the code that had to do with mobile vendors, temporary merchants," said Janie Burns of Meadowlark Farm. "It hadn't been rewritten for many years so I would like to think that we prompted them to do a total review, but they may have had it in the works anyway."
Instead of requiring individual vendor licenses and background checks, the revised code allows the Boise Farmers Market to apply for a single group license. Though getting a license might be easier this year, securing a spot at the market is not.
"We've really tried to keep the Farmers Market as farmers and their products and then local foods that have local ingredients in them," said Burns. "So we've had to turn down a lot of people. ... Everything from art and jewelry to coconut bars. We're pretty particular."
But Burns did confirm that consumers will see a few new faces this season.
"We're going to have some new vendors this year," said Burns. "I'm not going to promise what they're going to bring because some of them are still thinking about it, but there could be some new, exciting produce available at the market."
With help from donors, the market is also expanding its Sprouts Kids Club program. In addition to organizing weekly educational activities for kids focused on food and nutrition, the club also gives children two, $1 tokens a week to spend on whole foods.
"What we've heard from the parents is that once those kids have money to buy something and they buy it, they eat it," said Burns. "So there's some great success in empowering kids to buy their own food."
As for the market's opening day, Burns said shoppers can expect an array of early spring veggies like radishes, spinach and other greens. There will also be an assortment of local meats, honey and bedding plants for sale. And to sweeten the deal, the market is handing out cake to celebrate its first anniversary.
"We're trying to source all the ingredients locally so everyone can come down and have a piece of birthday cake," said Burns.