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Local, fresh, homegrown food resource

                                                                                                           Photo by Christy Porter
The first Saturday of the fifth season for the Licking Farmer’s Market was greeted with 
beautiful weather and an array of products for sale by some of the vendors.
By Christy Porter
Managing Editor

Licking United Methodist Church has been hosting the Licking Farmer’s Market since 2016. Wednesday was the beginning of their fifth year for the outreach program, which is an effort to bring locally grown food resources and products to area people. Many of the vendors have been a part of the Farmer’s Market for several years. Funds earned at the church’s booth covers market expenses and advertising, allowing the vendors to set up free of charge.
All Missouri Department of Agriculture regulations in regards to farmer’s markets must be followed by all vendors. Due to COVID-19, safe distancing, face coverings and a sanitation station are being implemented. Please practice CDC guidelines while participating at the market. The Licking UMC’s Facebook page lists what is available on market days, and some vendors are doing pre-orders and pick-up, with possible home delivery.
In 2016, Pastor Robb Webster of the Methodist Church was fulfilling a dream for the Farmer’s Market, which he’d held for three years. Shortly after its initiation, Webster was transferred to another church; the reality of his dream continues on. The outreach program was to include only locally sourced food products and handcrafted items, which is still the criteria today. For products which are not grown locally, such as peaches, Missouri grown can be brought in.
The weather was dismal for Wednesday, the first day, however shoppers still found vegetables, eggs, herbs, plants, baked goods and valuable advice.
Saturday cooperated with sunny, warm weather and vendors had numerous offerings. The church booth with Kathleen Borg and Jan Moloney, market coordinators, offered a complimentary face mask, fruit preserves, cookbooks, hot pads/trivets and cloth market bags.
Matt Moloney had an assortment of handcrafted wood products, unique rustic results of his repurposing hobby, and Mom’s home baked goods.
Curt and Brenda Robertson with Rocky Ridge Farms also proffered home baked bread and goodies, jams and jellies, as well as herb butter, honey, pecans, granola, vegetable mixes and homemade laundry soap. They are a family enterprise which has been with the Licking Farmer’s Market since the beginning. “We market exclusively here at Licking,” said Curt, while tending the booth.
Wildwood Homestead, second year suppliers of crocheted utilitarian items, Afghans, scarves and jewelry items were represented by Alisa Kautzman and her son Zachary.
 Dave and Lucinda Smith of Sonshine Gardens & Greenhouse had bedding plants including tomatoes, peppers, squash and herbs available for sale. Dave markets on Saturdays and Lucinda hosts the booth on Wednesdays. Says Dave, “I enjoy meeting new people and the learning experience shared by the customers and vendors.” The Smiths freely share their knowledge about the products they sell.
                                   Photo by Christy Porter
Local Licking FFA member Jonathan Hagler 
made available an assortment of 
state inspected pork products. 
He raised the hogs on the family farm, 
Hagler Farms and Equipment.
Local Licking FFA member Jonathan Hagler made available his state inspected pork products. Hagler raises his hogs on the family farm while helping with the cattle, poultry and rabbits produced by Hagler Farms and Equipment. This is his first year at the Farmer’s Market, but he has been raising and showing his hogs for five years, as well as welding and doing mechanical work on equipment. His delicious pork products are also available by ordering direct at 417-260-2135.
The Farmer’s Market concept likely grew from long ago trading posts, general stores and small town grocery stores. Due partially from necessity, area farmers would trade or exchange their homegrown or homemade products with other farmers or the local mercantile establishment, the laws of supply and demand at a local level.
Today Farmer’s Markets supply locally resourced food and agricultural products to area consumers. Products are “fresh from the farm” with no shipping and minimal packaging and storage or processing costs. This benefits both local farmers and consumers as an alternative to big box store offerings, often omitting the middleman. The lower transportation and storage costs are mutually beneficial and reduce the impact on the environment in many ways.
What this ultimately means is a better variety of healthier, fresher and seasonal food sources, which strengthens the immediate community with awareness, the local economy, and encourages and supports the agriculture industry. These farmers, hobby farmers, meat and poultry producers and local vendors are often willing to offer tips, ideas, recipes and uses for their products; after all they utilize their products. It is a tasty connection with your community!
If you are interested in becoming a vendor call 573-674-3686 for more information.
The Licking Farmer’s Market will be held every Wednesday and Saturday from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. or while supplies last at Licking UMC’s parking lot, 208 S. Main Street, until August 15.
                                                                                                                     Photos by Christy Porter
Vendors participating at the Licking Farmer’s Market the first week were: Farmer’s Market coordinators, Kathleen Borg and Jan Moloney at the Licking United Methodist Church booth; Sonshine Gardens & Greenhouses, Dave and Lucinda Smith; June Owens from the Owens’ Family Farm; Matt Moloney with rustic repurposed products; Rocky Ridge Farms with Curt Robertson; Wildwood Homestead with handcrafted items by Alisa Kautzman and son, Zachary; and Jonathan Hagler with state inspected pork products.




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