When Sherrie Feist, owner of Linder Farms, learned that the Kuna Farmers Market would not be opening for the summer 2019 season, she began thinking of ways to salvage the Saturday tradition.
Her brainstorming led to the opening of The Market at Linder Farms, an alternative to the Farmers Market that has been functioning every Saturday since June 1. So far, The Market has seen relative success, with the number of people and vendors fluctuating each weekend. On Saturday, July 13, about six vendors set up at the farm for a small crowd, though some weekends have hosted as many as 16 vendors.
The Market doesn’t require vendors to commit to spending every Saturday at the farm, but many come back each weekend. Others come and go, and on an average Saturday, passersby can expect to find arts and crafts, snow cones, house wares, homemade goods and some produce, as well as the well-known Linder Farms doughnuts.
“We just want to give people an opportunity,” Feist said. “They have so many talents out there. They have that desire to be creative and to make money. If they have the skills, let’s give them a place to sell them.”
According to Feist, having a farmers market at an actual farm offers people a way to experience something new, boost their local economy and support local business owners. For some, The Market is a way to get back to their roots and keep tradition alive.
“To be able to remember the art of homemaking. The art of sewing. The art of making jams and making homemade breads and making homemade designs — even if it’s just buying someone else’s, that’s amazing to keep that tradition going,” Feist said.
Feist said that if all goes well this season, they plan on bringing The Market back in years to come. The Market at Linder Farms will end the last week of August in order for the owners to start preparing for their busy fall season.
“We love it,” Feist said. “My favorite part is interacting with all the people who come by.”
For locals looking for the type of fresh produce found at a traditional farmers market, the Local Girls Produce Stand at the corner of Avalon and Kuna Road fits the bill.
Started in May by owner Lisa Dyson, the produce stand provides a variety of fruits, vegetables and other goods that fill the gap left by the now-closed farmers market. Open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, the stand has an assortment of produce from around Idaho and elsewhere, including everything from fresh nectarines and plums, to jams and pies.
Dyson has also partnered with other local vendors, including a food truck and a vendor that sells home-made, organic baked goods, like sticky buns, flatbread pizzas, muffins and trail mixes. Having several vendors selling fresh food offers the social, open-air market that people have been missing since the farmers market closed this year.
“People have mentioned that,” Dyson said. “They come in and kind of missing having a place to gather. I think that’s it, just that nostalgia. That’s such a big part of it. I think because of all the change that’s going on, people want something country, home-town, something they remember from growing up. That’s kind of what I’m doing here.”
Dyson wants her customers to know where their food is coming from, and to offer fruits and vegetables with more flavor than is often found at chain grocery stores.
“People love the stuff that’s just grown,” Dyson said. “You can see the dirt on it, and it just literally came from the farm. I love that. That’s what I want to do, as much as I can.”
She hopes to keep the produce stand open into the fall, and to eventually open up a storefront that can remain open year round. Right now, she’s on the hunt for a location where she can set up shop.
Finally, although it’s not a new alternative — it is now in its third season — the K-Town Flea Market serves as a Saturday-morning alternative. For those looking for quirky retail finds, the monthly market is a good place to start.
Co-owned by Maresa Stear and Kim Baker, the K-Town Flea Market offers a space for anyone to sell their wares — homemade or not. On the first Saturday of each month, guests can find woodwork, crafts, honey products, jellies and jams, breads, plants, cotton candy, furniture, clothing and more.
Like the owners say, there’s always something different, and there’s something for everyone. Plus, with many of the vendors being Kuna residents, the flea market keeps people buying into the local economy.
“Most of our vendors are local by far Kuna residents, which is great,” Baker said. “That’s the whole reason we wanted to bring it to Kuna… It’s awesome to have something that brings people from other cities into Kuna, not the other way around.”
Baker and Stear said that on any given Saturday, hundreds of people might show up to the flea market.
“We were saddened to see the farmers market go,” Baker said. “It wasn’t like we were ever in competition, because of the different clientele and different people were looking for different things, but when anything leaves Kuna, we are saddened.”