Tracy Simmons, Manager of the Emporia Farmers Market chatted with online readers. Here is the transcript of the chat. The Farmers Market opens this Saturday.
How long has the Emporia Farmers Market been operating, and how many vendors will you have this year?
The Emporia Farmers Market began in 1982 with about a dozen vendors participating that first season. We have been at our current location on Merchant Street, between Seventh and Eighth Avenues since 1986. As a newcomer to Emporia, I’m still learning about the history of the market myself. It has been fun reviewing the archives as I have time and learning from vendors, several of whom have been involved since the beginning. In 2010 we had a total of 66 vendors, but the average number of vendors per market was 19 with a record for the season of 25 vendors at a single market. While we have several vendors who participate all year long, we also have seasonal vendors who come only when their specialty product (such as corn, melons, or berries) is in season. I expect to see similar, or slightly higher, vendor participation in 2011. New vendors learn that a consistent presence at the market is important to establish loyal customers. I have several vendors who, if they miss a single market, our volunteers hear about it at the kiosk. They want to know if everything is okay, why are they gone and then to let them know that they were missed.