Talon News - Good Local News

FARMERS, GROWERS, VENDORS AND BUYERS

Meeting held

 

March 17, 2017



The Annual Farmington Growers Market and Aztec Farmers Market Vendors meeting was held Saturday, March 4, 2017. Yes, farmers are already ramping up with seed starts, tilling, exploring compost options, and quite frankly spending an amazing amount of time and effort making sure we all get the most integritous, nutritious, delicious and safest produce possible.

The meeting was held at the Farmington Museum and was officiated by Bonnie Hopkins, who wears too many hats to name, but two of which are Board Member for Farmington Growers Market and, lucky for us, San Juan County Extension Agent. The purpose among all of these entities is to preserve and support family farming in San Juan County.

Pauline Pao, farmer, and manager of Aztec Farmers Market is a force all her own. Pauline received the Double Up Food Bucks Outlet award for promoting and keeping impeccable records of the DUFB SNAP program. This program along with ICAN, and all of our farmers, supports the SNAP recipients with double the produce for their budget along with education on nutrition, food safety, proper storage and easy preparation for the produce offered at market.

David Elder, Board Member, Elder’s Greenhouse and Garden, gave a passionate accounting of the World Agriculture Expo in Tulare, California, and offered insight as to the importance of maintaining integrity in our markets, as well as the role of farmers in our community. He also stressed the agreement and cohesiveness among board members as to the enforcement of farmers market rules and their commitment to the community.

Among the topics discussed were money, and the various forms of payment from government subsidies (WIC, SNAP, DUFB and Senior Checks), to debit and credit cards and cash handling, guidelines from the New Mexico Environment Department, Board Member introductions, (the Board is the same as it was last year), taxes, re-selling rules (don’t even think about it), agricultural rulings, workers compensation insurance, signage and product presentation, service animal and pet policies (no pets allowed), food safety practices and compliance (common sense and FSMA: Food Safety Modernization Act), irrigation water safety (Produce Safety Alliance), labels and record keeping for crop traceability, weights and measures, egg grading and labeling, (thank you to Inspector Jennifer), food sampling, processed foods, value added products, craft vendors, and in the true measure of the love of food and the people that bring it to you, the publication of a farmers market cookbook, which will be spearheaded by Paula Sunner, Board Member, Amber Michelle, Writer (TALON), and Maria Cassidy, Registered Dietitian.

All reports, vendor applications, state directives and guidelines, board contacts, ag-extension workshops and symposiums, and market start dates as well as market news will be published online at sanjuancountyextension.com, Aztec Farmers Market and Farmington Growers Market on Facebook.

Leading up to the markets which begin June and July, I’ll explore these subjects in depth, as well as feature a farmer profile, so you can get to know the people that feed us and their unending dedication and passion for preserving and sustaining the family farm.

 

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