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Winter Market  RSS feed

 
                  
Posts: 121
Location: Missoula, MT
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This thread was kind of inspired by the Missoula Farmer's Market thread and the suggestion for a market on the southwest side of town.

It has been a vague goal of mine to start a winter market that is similar in spirit to the summer markets, but obviously with different goods. In the past month or two I have heard others mention the same dream. A couple of them even organized a small bizarre in their living room that was kind of like the People's Market. The turnout was slight, but the important thing is there was turnout. The biggest obstacles to a larger consistent market are practical; mainly concerning location, legal, and health questions. Our one possible space is not viable because of firecode. Secondly, local winter food will consist of a lot of canned goods and probably wild game. How can we make sure the food is safe? Will we have to close down the whole market if one of the vendors sells a tainted jar of beets?

Also, I wonder if Missoula would be able to support an ongoing winter market. Any suggestions or opinions?

 
Greg M Peters
Posts: 74
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I think this is a cool idea.  I'd imagine though, that there are the same legal requirements that any open market would have to adhere to.  I believe (I hope anyway) that selling wild game is illegal. 

With a growing demand and an ongoing market, more farmers might be willing to invest in the infrastructure that would allow them to grow year round.  I've read about farmers in cold climates growing year round, Eliot Coleman in Maine is a good example. 

I would imagine that local farmers or market masters from the summer markets would be a good place for advice and info. 

 
                  
Posts: 121
Location: Missoula, MT
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Thanks for the feedback, Greg. I wasn't aware that the sale of wild game is illegal. It strikes me as odd, but maybe I don't quite understand the issues behind the law. I suppose there might be an increase in poaching? After your response, I did a little research and found out that fur-bearing animals can still be sold. That's the strangest part to me because it seems so wasteful on several levels, but maybe that is a political discussion for some place else.

In any case, the idea of growing food through winter is great, something that hadn't occurred to me before. It looks like Four Seasons is on to something. I wonder how the home gardener could scale the same methods down to something more manageable.
 
Greg M Peters
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I think it's illegal because people would be hunting all the time...and there wouldn't be any critters left.  I know Montana has prohibited elk ranching, but Idaho and Wyoming allow it.  Obviously bison ranching is ok too.  The Four Seasons Farm is pretty cool.  Here's their website...www.fourseasonsfarm.com

One option might be to link up to the Montana Bartering Community.  There's some national barter networks, but I think Montana has a few.  www.wetradeneetwork.com is one MT based site.  Are there any other even more local options? This may be a subject for a new thread?
 
 
                  
Posts: 121
Location: Missoula, MT
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Please post here if you have made any plans for a winter market. There are definitely interested parties. It would be great if we could group together, create a shared goal, and help get this thing started.

In response to Dawn's question that was accidentally posted in another thread, I have spoken with enough interested sellers that I'm convinced that part is taken care of. By sellers, I mean both people who grow food and make crafts. My concern and that of some friends is whether or not community members would travel to the market on cold and snowy or rainy days. For that reason, we were thinking something indoors and easily accessible. Your fairgrounds idea sounds interesting. Are there heated buildings there that we could use? I was also thinking of a church annex or something along those lines. Cost has been one of the main problems with finding a space. I'm trying to think if there is anyone who would be interested in the market enough to sponsor us with a space. Maybe we could talk to the city.

Someone on here said he was part of organizing the original Missoula Farmer's Market. I wonder if he would know if they have to pay for their space downtown...
 
Kristen Lee-Charlson
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we have discussed for the past few years, the start of a winter market. without going into all the details - I believe it is viable. we have in fact begun a weekly buying club (underground market) with farm-fresh items delivered weekly and organic farm-direct items sold at wholesale costs. there is already the beginnings of this -
 
                  
Posts: 121
Location: Missoula, MT
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Please tell me where? It seems like there might be more than one group doing this. Maybe we should group together?
 
Greg M Peters
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edibleMISSOULA wrote:
we have discussed for the past few years, the start of a winter market. without going into all the details - I believe it is viable. we have in fact begun a weekly buying club (underground market) with farm-fresh items delivered weekly and organic farm-direct items sold at wholesale costs. there is already the beginnings of this -


How do the rest of us get in on this??
 
Kristen Lee-Charlson
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Greg M Peters wrote:
How do the rest of us get in on this??



Just email me for more info:
wapfmissoula@gmail.com
Subject Line:
RealFood Buying Club
 
                    
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I was thinking of the winter markets I've seen back east, they are in old brick warehouses, don't we have a few of those around here??

The buildings a the fair ground would surely work if you could get people into them.
Seems driving in winter is always an issue for folks.

I think it would be great to have something with in waking distance of down town.

Warm food & drink would always be popular at theses & perhaps crafters who sell mittens & scarves.

We are going to try window farming this winter & are looking for others who might like to give it a try. Let me know if you are interested.

Here is the Link: http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/4407_0/missoula-eco-forum/2010-winter-hydroponic-window-farm-project-join-us
 
                  
Posts: 121
Location: Missoula, MT
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There are quite a few large, vacant spaces available downtown and just across the tracks. I wonder if any of the building owners would mind donating space - at least for the first few markets. Just this week I read that the art community was trying to work with downtown property owners to fill vacant spaces with temporary galleries as a way to attract interest from potential renters.
 
Emma Olson
Posts: 155
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I think the best bet, if you're trying to get the space for free, would be to go through a church. I have heard that several have large rooms available and that (I think) the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship sometimes donates it. The only problem with having it at a church would be the possibility that some people may feel less comfortable attending.
 
Allison Rooney
Posts: 42
Location: Shields Valley Montana
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Hello Everyone,  I live near Bozeman, and have participated in and now sit on the steering committee of the Bozeman Winter Farmers' Market.  I have a small market farm/permaculture project near Wilsall, and am attempting to practice 4 season growing, so the market has been a really fantastic thing for me, and other growers, ranchers, farmers, seed sellers, bread bakers, pastry bakers, chocolatiers, wool producers...We are entering our third year as a market starting in October, and this is how we've done it:  the folks who initially got the ball rolling selected a space in the Emerson Cultural Center.  There is a large ballroom there, and the facility is located just a block from downtown Bozeman.  The Emerson charges us their room rate, discounted for every Saturday we hold the market, which is currently every 2nd and 4th Saturday in Oct, Nov, (no Dec markets because the space has had long term parties renting it for annual functions during this month), Jan, Feb, Mar and April.  The first year the market was held twice in May also, which I found to be particularly awesome, though many of the other vendors were also saying that having a break between the winter market season and the super busy summer market season, and during prime planting time was their preference, and so year two it was decided to stop the market at the end of April.  That's still a lot of opportunity for selling!  The market now hosts a few hundred folks on a busy day, with a regular clientele building.  We hope the market's traffic expands and are currently working on accepting EBT tokens, taking part in the Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program, and having the infrastructure to accept SNAP dollars.  There is a simple website the original market master created:  www.bozemanwintermarket.com  The steering committee overwhelmingly voted to limit the market to items grown or produced on local farms, or produced from local farm products, though there is some sway there-- basically the market is edible or directly related to edible/farm fare.  Whatever happens with your winter market dreams, let me tell you, it is a wonderful thing to be part of.  I have personally benefitted greatly as a small new farmer just by the networking opportunities alone, but it has really helped me promote and expand my CSA, and in other business ventures as well, as well as generate income during a normally cash poor time of the year by selling winter storage crops, sprouts, early spring greens, seedlings, etc.  I'll be happy to answer any questions or offer input on this topic, and I would recommend visiting the Bozeman Winter Market to check it out!  One last note, definitely choose a warm location-- you want people to be comfortable and enjoy the experience, so they keep coming back!
 
                  
Posts: 121
Location: Missoula, MT
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Wow, Allison! Thank you for all the info. That was about the most helpful post on this topic so far. I think my friends and I were going for a combo farmers'/craft market as we make stuff more than we grow it. Do you think that two Saturdays is better than more often? We were thinking every Saturday, just like the summer markets.
 
Allison Rooney
Posts: 42
Location: Shields Valley Montana
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I may have been the lone person on the steering committee who thought that having artists/craftspeople present was a good thing--my thought was to fill all the spaces to bring in revenue for the operations of the market, and that artisans selling wares is a desirable thing from a building a local economy standpoint.  The sentiment from others on making it a foodie market was basically that an art market already exists in the halls of the Emerson and within its galleries on many of the same Saturdays, and also that all of the rest of Bozeman's Farmers' markets are predominated by artists/craftspeople, so the folks who started up the Winter Market really wanted to showcase solely foods.  I would try to include as many growers/farmers as you can, because it is so amazing to see really just how much food can be brought in from local farms all winter long...potatoes, onions, shallots, garlic, leeks, carrots, parsnips, squash, pumpkins, beef, lamb, pork, goat cheeses, eggs, jams, preserves, dried herbs, sprouts, microgreens, hoophouse greens.  The market booth fees generate the necessary income to pay a stipend to the market manager, cover some advertising, liability insurance, and space rental.  Other types of businesses present include a caterer who specializes in seasonal local fare making quiches, scones and selling coffee and tea, local producers of value-added foods like hummus, salsas, etc, a local seed company, a camellina oil producer...I felt pretty blessed to be there.  We have been trained to believe that we can't provide for our food needs in the dark of winter in Montana (and other wintry places as well) and our little market showed that that assumption is totally false!  Revolutionary, really, winter markets are!  All that being said (!) I think that for the farmers concerned with our particular market, twice monthly during the "off-season" for farmers was what fit most with everyone's need for a restful (haha-farming, restful??) season.  I think having more markets could work, definitely before Thanksgiving and Christmas, and Easter holidays.
 
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