Emporia Farmers Market joins markets across the country in celebrating National Farmers Market Week from August 5-11. During this week, we will highlight some of the vendors that are committed to providing fresh, healthy, local foods to the Emporia community. The Emporia market has been operating since 1982, and during those 35+ years has seen the demand for local food continue to grow. According to statistics recently released by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), farmers markets and farm stands account for roughly $2 billion of the $3 billion that Americans spend annually on farm-direct products. This revenue, in turn, supports the livelihoods of more than 165,000 mostly small and mid-sized farms and ranches.
Wanda Myers - Mators and Tators
1. How did you get started farming/gardening/baking, etc?
Growing up, my parents had a truck farm. From the time I was 10 years old, we had huge gardens. We sold most of our produce to the North and South Reebles grocery stores. I have been gardening since.
2. How long have you been selling at farmers markets/direct-to-consumer?
I have been selling at the market since 2010.
3. What is your favorite product you offer, and why?
That's hard to pick one. I really like new red potatoes. And summer squash is a favorite, too. The potatoes can be fixed so many ways, as with the squash.
4. What’s your favorite dish or recipe you like to make with some of your products?
I make a summer squash casserole that is quick to make and is a great side dish. Plus, it has plenty of Parmesan cheese in it.
5. Do you use any special growing methods or techniques?
I use drip irrigation and mulch to conserve water. And with the year we have had this year, that is extremely important. I use manure and compost for fertilizer. I do not use chemical sprays.
6. Why do you think it’s important for folks to eat local?
It is very important for people to know where their food is coming from. So much is shipped in from distances and is picked too early to be really good. And who knows what chemicals are used on the plants and produce.
7. Any other special features about your farm, business, history, etc. you’d like to share?
I am trying to provide fresh and local produce to the Emporia community. My parents, Harold and Naomi Brenzikofer, were staples of the Emporia Farmers Market for over 30 years, and I am trying to keep the tradition going for a few more years.
In addition to being a market vendor, Wanda also serves as the President for the EFM Board of Directors and is well-known for her delicious Beefy Vegetable soup at the annual Soup-a-Palooza fundraiser. You can find her at Wednesday and Saturday markets at 7th & Merchant.