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Boise Farmers Market Weathers Rain, Conflict for Successful Opening

“We’re looking down the road and working with the city for another year to maybe get a change or a tweak in the ordinance so both markets can get a Special Events Permit.”

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Don Heffner of Volcanic Farms Produce rested on an empty cooler as a light rain pelted the his tent. The Horseshoe Bend farmer had completely sold out of produce by 10:30 a.m. April 6--opening day of the new Boise Farmers Market.

"I brought eggs and asparagus--I'd say 100 pounds of asparagus," he said.

A few rows away, Chance Morgan, co-owner of Sweet Valley Organics, stood smiling over an empty basket of fiddlehead ferns. He echoed Heffner's bewilderment.

"We were not sure how many people would show up but it's been a really good turnout so far," said Morgan.

Sweet Valley Organics will no longer sell its goods at the Capital City Public Market.

"They're both great markets," said Morgan. "We just work with a lot of the producers that came over here so we kind of came with them."

The split between the two markets hasn't been without conflict. As Boise Weekly reported April 3, BFM vendors found out late in game that they would need to secure individual vending permits because the new market is on private property (11th and Front streets). Vendors at the CCPM are covered under a Special Events Permit.

"We caused [the city] to confront an issue that they've talked about, but never done anything about. Now I think we're going to come to a reasonable solution that'll benefit everybody," said BFM acting president Janie Burns.

Burns was vague when asked whether vendors had issues securing permitting for the market's opening, saying, "All the vendors who intended to come could come."

Lee Rice, owner of Rice Family Farms in Meridian, was more direct.

"I think there might be a few selling today without permits, but I don't have time to run around and validate that kind of stuff," said Rice. "[The city] would have to make time to do it and it wouldn't be very popular."

Rice is optimistic that the city and BFM can iron out any issues moving forward.

"We're looking down the road and working with the city for another year to maybe get a change or a tweak in the ordinance so both markets can get a Special Events Permit," said Rice.

But neither permits, the scarcity of produce nor the chilly rain deterred crowds eager to kick off spring at the new market.

"As someone who's looking forward to my pasture being greener, I welcome the rain," said Burns, with a smile.

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