Melba Valley Senior Center window sign

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Melba Senior Center Director Michelle Martinez wanted to help her community get to know their neighbors, and she’s done that by starting the Melba Farmers Market.

The market, held at the Melba Valley Senior Center, buzzed with energy on Thursday night. Children and teenagers scrambled around the senior center parking lot setting up tables and chairs, and at 5 p.m., about a dozen vendors were ready to sell. Products ranged from birdhouses to baby bunnies — eclectic, creative, and wholly representative of rural small-town charm.

After starting on April 1, the weekly event has persisted through bad weather, vendor cancellations, and a general lack of resources. Each week, community members return to volunteer at the market. Kids as young as five donate their time to keep the evenings running smoothly. One recent high school graduate even takes time off work each Thursday to play live music. This dedication inspired a $2,500 donation from America’s Farmers Bayer Fund to the Melba Farmers Market for its commitment to community growth.

Martinez is happy with the weekly turnout, but hopes the market can attract more visitors throughout the summer, especially with Melba’s popular Independence Day celebration nearing.

“For now, the best part is seeing everyone laugh” said Martinez, “We are still learning, but we’re laughing as we learn.”

The market is 5-8 p.m. every Thursday.

Sadie Dittenber covers Melba for the Kuna Melba News. She is a senior at The College of Idaho studying international political economy.

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