Join the Kootenai County Farmers Market in celebrating the abundance of autumn By Taylor Shillam | Photo Courtesy of Kootenai Farmers Market
The summer season may have come to a close, but farmers market season isn’t over in Kootenai County. Events lined up throughout the fall and winter will extend the opportunity to enjoy the seasonal bounty of local farms, artisans and makers in the Coeur d'Alene area.
The Kootenai County Farmers Market has presented fresh, locally grown produce to the area since 1986, offering a selection of local food products that changes with the seasons. More than 100 producers and artisans comprise Hayden’s Saturday market and downtown Coeur d’Alene’s Wednesday evening market.
After a successful summer, there remains a lot to look forward to in the coming months, including harvest celebrations and the popular annual Winter Market.
“It’s been a great year,” shared board member Susi Faville of Mountain View Farm. “We have so many new people in our area, and they seem to appreciate what the market has to offer. Most days have been quite busy.”
Now they look forward to the new season, with events like the Fall Fest market on September 24 set to celebrate the bounty of autumn.
Faville noted the market vendors sell what they can grow with the local seasons, relying on Mother Nature's timing. "Fall brings an abundance of produce of all types to market. It's when there are reliable stocks of tomatoes, peppers and other warm-season veggies," she said. "The weather is often perfect, and the light is wonderful. There are smells of hot spiced cider and the warm fall colors of pumpkins and squash.
“It will be time for fall decorations, stocking up on winter squash and storage vegetables, apples, pears, and more,” she added.
On October 15, the market's free Customer Appreciation Day event will offer soups crafted from market meats and produce, served with breads, pastries and more, all prepared by market vendors as a thank you from the Kootenai County Farmers Market. The autumn market season will close with downtown Coeur d’Alene’s Harvest Fest on Saturday, October 29, from 10am to 3pm at Fifth Street and Sherman Avenue. And while you’re downtown, be sure to get tickets to this year’s Apple Palooza, put on by the Coeur d’Alene Downtown Association (CdADowntown.com).
Through every season, the Kootenai County Farmers Market offers opportunities to educate and support a healthy community. Its PoP (Power of Produce) Club is a free program that uses hands-on activities to introduce kids to market foods and how they're grown. The market also accepts EBT cards and utilizes the Double Up Bucks program to help people include more fresh vegetables in their diets. These programs are supported by donations from the community.
"We're always looking for help, either with activities or donations for supplies," Faville said. "We have a 501c3 organization called Friends of the Market that can accept donations and give tax deduction receipts."
The market is an organization of member vendors with a Board of Directors and paid managers. "Members are expected to contribute work hours to the market," she said. "We're like a big family."
Mark your calendar for the last event of the year, the Winter Market at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds on December 17 at 10am. “We fill the Jacklin Building with our vendors, late produce like garlic, carrots, potatoes and cranberries, jams, pastries, honey, meat and lots of amazing Christmas shopping from crafters.”
Stay up to date on market offerings by subscribing to their weekly Fresh Sheet, which highlights vendors, live music, and what’s available at each week’s market. Read or subscribe at KootenaiFarmersMarkets.org.