More than just fruit and veggies can be found at local markets.  

Corn from Andelin family farm ©David Calvert

BY MEGG MUELLER

Very little is a given in this world; in fact, we’re often told the only thing you can count on is death and taxes however there is another incontrovertible fact about humans. We need food. But beyond basic sustenance, food plays an indelible part in our lives and it touches not only our biological needs but also our social and emotional needs as well. 

While dinner parties and restaurant visits have taken a hit this last year, the need to commune over food still exists and it’s one reason farmers markets are playing such an important role today. They offer more than just fruits and vegetables; they offer community.

“Farmers markets will be the star of summer this year,” Ann Louhela, president of NevadaGrown, says. “It’s one place we can go outside and go to events.”


YES, IN MY BACKYARD, PLEASE

Carson Farmers Market ©Chris Holloman

NevadaGrown is a nonprofit organization working to foster the success of sustainable agriculture and to encourage healthy eating for Nevada’s communities. The group brings together farmers, producers, and restaurants that support the mission of keeping food a local affair. It also encourages support of farmers markets that predominately have produce and goods from Nevada farms, something you might think is obvious but isn’t always the case due to the close proximity of California’s abundant farms. While not impugning delicious California-grown produce, NevadaGrown seeks to highlight Nevada markets that host farmers that are even more local. 

©Chris Holloman

Farmers markets are big business—the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, using estimates from the 2017 Ag Census and recent USDA ARMS data, estimates about $2.4 billion in annual sales through farmers markets—but they are also big for small business.

“As society gets more urban, we’re getting back in touch with our agricultural heritage,” Ann says. “It puts people in touch with a very primitive thing: the food they eat. They’ve always been that way.” 

Truly, if you think about it, farmers markets have been a part of just about every culture in history. Farmers have always needed to sell their crops, and while the addition of crafters, food trucks, beer purveyors, and other vendors is a more recent addition, it’s true that in any country in the world there’s likely some sort of farmers market.


©Chris Holloman

ADD SOME ART, IF YOU WILL 

©NevadaGrown

Nevada’s farmers markets have often included vendors, such as those mentioned, for a few reasons, the least of which is Nevada doesn’t have quite as many farms as some states. Adding arts and crafts and food vendors increases the attractiveness of the market and helps it appeal to a broader section of the community. It also brings together an incredible number of small businesses, the heart of any city or town. 

 “For any small business that doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar presence, farmers markets are a great incubator,” Ann reveals. “If you’re a small farm, you might pick up small accounts at restaurants that come to shop, plus you’ll see what people are eating and buying and cooking.”

Ann goes on to mention that one of the best things about farmers markets for the vendors and farmers is that they get to do market research on the spot. Seeing what sells from day to day and market to market for a relatively low investment of both time and money is a major boon to small businesses. In a world of online shopping, standing face to face with customers, hearing which products they like and why is a huge plus, and it’s also just one more reason the sense of community shines through so well with farmers markets.   

©David Calvert

WHAT SHALL I FIND TODAY? 

For the consumer, choosing which market to go to depends on what experience you wish to have. Morning markets are for people predominately looking to shop for groceries. At evening markets, it’s more social. Most people buy some food, but the mindset is a little different. At any type of market, however, one thing that can always be found is lots of education. People are talking directly to the farmers, asking questions like “how do I grow this?” or “how do I cook this?” Some markets such as Bonsai Blue in Reno and the Carson Farmers Market offer things like demo gardens or cooking demonstrations.

©David Calvert

“There’s lots of education going on,” Ann says. “You get the interaction from the vendor and the shopper, whether it’s the local potters, the food purveyors, the artists, and the farmers. You feel the sense of community, and you can meet friends and neighbors.” 

The money spent at a farmers market is also kept hyper locally. Almost ever dollar spent is going directly into a family’s pocket or a small business’
bank account.  

©Chris Holloman

A DEEP LOCAL DIVE 

In every area of Nevada, you can find a market. From Elko to Henderson, Winnemucca to Yerington, the ability to glean a closer understanding of an area is just a few market tents away. Step up to the table and the culture of the region is at your fingertips. That ability to get truly local is one thing Ann says is a great attraction of farmers markets. It’s a super simple way to learn about the community you live in, whether you’re from it or have just moved to it. Markets in Nevada are very different than markets in other states and they all offer a first-hand glimpse as to what makes each area special. 

©NevadaGrown

“If you go to your local market,” Ann says, “those farmers are your neighbors. You’re not going to see that at other events. It’s just another way that food brings people together.”

Click on the image to download a live-link pdf.

SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL FARMER

Across the state, markets pop up anywhere from May to October, and there’s even some that run all year long. Here’s a list of markets from nevadagrown.com for the coming season. As always, confirm the hours and location, along with any regulations due to COVID-19, before you go. For markets without a website, visit nevadagrown.com/farmers-markets

Bonsai Blue Garden Market, Reno
Fridays, June 17-Oct. 28
bonsaibluenv.com

Carson Farmers Market, Carson City
Saturdays, June 5-Sept. 25
carsonfarmersmarket.com

Downtown 3rd Farmers Market, Las Vegas
Fridays, Through Dec. 31

Elko Family Farmers Market
Saturdays, June 12-Oct. 31
facebook.com/elkofarmersmarket

fresh52 Farmers Market at Tivoli Village, Las Vegas
Fridays and Saturdays, Through Dec. 31
alligator-violin-38h7.squarespace.com

fresh52 Farmers Market at Sansone Park Place
Sundays, Through Dec. 26
alligator-violin-38h7.squarespace.com

Galleria at Sunset Farmers Market, Las Vegas
Fridays, Through Dec. 31
lasvegasfarmersmarket.com

Gardnerville Main Street Farmers Market
Wednesdays, May 19-Sept. 15
sierrachef.com

Henderson Pavilion Farmers Market
Fridays, Through Dec. 31
lasvegasfarmersmarket.com

Lamoille Farmers Market
First Saturdays, June 5-Oct. 2
facebook.com/lamoillefarmersmarket

Las Vegas Farmers Market at Floyd Lamb Park
3rd Saturdays, Through Dec. 18
lasvegasfarmersmarket.com

Las Vegas Farmers Market at Bruce Trent Park
Wednesdays, Through Dec. 29
lasvegasfarmersmarket.com

Las Vegas Farmers Market at Downtown Summerlin
Saturdays, Through Dec. 18
lasvegasfarmersmarket.com

Las Vegas Farmers Market at Skye Canyon
Thursdays, Through Dec. 30
lasvegasfarmersmarket.com

Las Vegas Farmers Market at Water Street
Thursdays, Through Dec. 30
lasvegasfarmersmarket.com

Minden Farmers Market
Tuesdays, May 18-Sept. 28
townofminden.com

Mobile Farmers Market, Reno
renofoodsystems.org

Pahrump Farmers Market
Saturdays, Through Dec. 18

Riverside Farmers Market, Reno
Thursdays, Through May 30
renofarmersmarket.com

Snake Valley Farmers Market, Baker
Saturdays, June 5-Oct. 30

Sparks Methodist Church Market
Tuesdays, June 1-Sept. 28

Stagecoach Junction Tuesday Farmers Market
Tuesdays, May 4-Oct. 26

Tamarack Junction Farmers Market, Reno
Saturdays, June 5-Sept. 25
shirleysfarmersmarkets.com

The Village Market on California Avenue, Reno
Saturdays, June 5-Oct. 2
shirleysfarmersmarkets.com

Winnemucca Farmers Market
Saturdays, June 5-Aug. 28

Yerington Early Bird Farmers Market
Thursdays, June 10-Oct. 14

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