Markets restore a sense of normality to the city center

(Photo by press staff by Geoffrey Plant)
With her brother Charles on hand to hold her coffee, Eileen English picks up a copy of Silver City artist Mariah Walker at the season’s first downtown market at Main Street Plaza on Saturday.

Harmony exists.

That’s the word of two outdoor market managers who coordinate separate and concurrent Saturday morning events in downtown Silver City.

Hosted by the Future Forge Makerspace, the Makers Market held its first event of its second season at Main Street Plaza this weekend, and an informal customer survey showed that nearly all visitors intended – or already had – abandoned the Silver City Farmers. “Market located a short distance north.

“I’m so happy it’s open again,” said Tim O’Donnell, who bought a large rustic birdhouse from one of the makers at the market on Saturday morning. ※ We go to the Farmers ‘Market and the Manufacturers’ Market every week – there is nothing better than this.

After moving to a covered area in a parking lot at 907 N. Pope St. from what is now Main Street Plaza while it was under construction along the Big Ditch north of Sixth Street, vendors at the Silver City Farmers’ Market voted last February to make their temporary move permanent. This has proven to be a popular decision among farmer’s market patrons, who love the easy parking and shade, manager Andrea Warner said.

※ We have the Double Up Food Bucks program, new vendors, the Southwestern New Mexico Seed Library – and we’re open year round now, ”Warner said, adding that ※ there will be a lot of vendors with starters for the garden, and the benefits of SNAP that users can use their Double Up Food Bucks on food crops and fruit trees. “

The program doubles the value of federal supplemental nutrition assistance dollars when spent on food – or plants and trees for food production – at the farmers’ market. The Silver City Food Co-op also recently joined the Double Up Food Bucks program.

Warner added that to support the other downtown market, she is “now sending artisans to the Makers Market.”

Stephen Lindsey, co-founder and chairman of the board of directors of Future Forge, said the Makers Market is doing the same with “essential suppliers” – those who sell food.

“Anyone who matches the farmers market, we send them there,” he said.

When Main Street Plaza was completed and the Farmers’ Market gave up the opportunity to return to its original location last year, Charmeine Wait, executive director of the Silver City MainStreet Project, didn’t have to look around. very far an organization to set up. an event in the new square on Saturday. The Future Forge stepped in last August, moving their Makers Market to the plaza and successfully running an outdoor art market until the end of October.

This year, the Makers Market will be open every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until the end of October. For now, Marketplace Coordinator Mary Stone has said vendor spaces are limited to 25 in order to guard against the spread of COVID-19, but if she determines that more vendors can be safely accommodated , this number could reach up to 50.

“We have a rotating list of vendors, so there will be new vendors,” said Mary, adding that Oasis Coffee and Tea House should be a regular presence at Makers Market, which will also host several other dining options. .

In partnership with Future Forge and with the sponsorship of Silver City MainStreet, the Silver City Art Association will install various artists and creators on a free “Make-and-Take” booth during the Makers Market this year. Guest artists and designers will help community members make something they can take home. Rhonda Munzinger helped people build their own origami treasure box this past weekend and Jeff Haynie, owner of Fin and Fur Studio, will be the guest artist next Saturday.

Social distancing and face covering are mandatory in both markets, and Makers Market volunteer Wade Stone said most people who attend the event along the tree-lined Big Ditch comply without having to be coaxed into putting on a mask. Wade jokingly described the duties as double.

“I help the vendors when they get here, and after that I stand up and yell at people about the masks,” Wade said with a laugh. ※Not really. It is quite cold; it’s pretty much the same as last year.

Las Cruces artist Sam Ruiz and Silver City artists Tina Estrada, Maddie Alfero and Mariah Walker were among the returning sellers on Saturday. Alfero, a goldsmith who designs and manufactures jewelry, said she expects footfall to increase dramatically as soon as it becomes known that the Makers Market is back.

Artist Mariah Walker, who closed her Copper Quail Gallery on Texas Street last year, said the Makers Market gave her an unprecedented opportunity to make her prints and paintings accessible to the community.

“It’s been great,” Walker said. ※ I have made sales and there are no overheads. I can focus on my own art.

The spaces of the Makers Market vendors are rented for $ 10. Visit thefutureforge.org to find out how to reserve a spot or call 575-313-5665.

For Eileen English and her brother, Charles, attending Saturday’s Makers Market was one of their first non-essential trips away from home since the start of the pandemic.

“We’ve been locked up enough,” Eileen said, adding that she and her brother formed a pod early last year so they could safely share a weekly meal. “But now that we have been vaccinated, this is the first time that we are going out.”

In addition to the new free seed library, from which people can obtain flowers and produce seeds of all kinds – some of which are specifically adapted to the growing conditions of Grant County – usual farmer’s market favorites were featured. Saturday.

John Justice of Mimbres Farms offered varieties of purple and green asparagus, in addition to purple and orange cauliflower, beets, Japanese turnips, carrots and other freshly picked vegetables.

“The asparagus arrived later this year on April 1,” Justice said, offering the Daily Press a wrapped length of grilled green asparagus paste that Café Pachamama had whipped up in their kitchen.

Wendell Hann, who has sold his grass-fed beef, lamb, goat and pork at the farmer’s market for many years, said he has countless loyal customers who frequent his stall every Saturday.

A Gila River Ranch customer who would identify only as “Tom” bought ground beef, beef livers and beef bones to make broth.

“I started trying different things during COVID,” Tom said. ※It’s clean.”

The downtown farmer’s market takes place every Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. Next weekend will see the start of the Market Music Series, with Famous Raymos and the Miracle Cures – with Ray Cressler and Amos Torres – appearing in the park next to the Farmers’ Market, thanks to the sponsorship of the Cultural Affairs of the Western New Mexico University Department. Visit silvercityfarmersmarket.info to learn more.

The Seasonal Farmer’s Market is held Wednesdays in the Ace Hardware parking lot at 3025 Silver Heights Blvd. will resume on June 2, Warner said.

—GEOFFREY FACTORY

About William G.

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