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May 09th, 2021

farmers marketOnions, cucumbers and bell peppers are some of the vegetables available at this booth at the Farmer’s Market in Liberal. This year’s Farmer’s Market kicks off Saturday and runs every Saturday through Sept. 25. Courtesy photoROBERT PIERCE • Leader & Times

 

A favorite activity of many on Saturday mornings during the warmer seasons is to take in a farmer’s market.

Since 2014, the Farmer’s Market in Liberal has taken place from early May to late September, and this Saturday marks the start of this year’s season.

After a few years in the parking lot where Scooter’s Coffee now calls home and last year in the parking lot of El Ranchito, both on North Kansas, this year’s Farmer’s Market once again has a new home, not too far from its former ones.

The Farmer’s Market this year will take place at 1195 N. Kansas in the heart of The Plaza between Izzy’s Health Hub and Hay Rice & Associates.

Farmer’s Market coordinator Debra Huddleston said many items will be available, including fresh produce, plants, baked goods and crafts.

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“I picked up five vendors at the Home Show,” she said. “Two to three people selling beef, pork, chicken. I’m working on a couple of people who are going to come with food trucks. I’m hoping that works out. One of them is about 90 percent sure. The other one is planning on it, but not until July.”

Following the 2020 Farmer’s Market, El Ranchito moved into the building formerly home to Liberal’s North Pizza Hut, and with Scooters taking over the original home of the Farmer’s Market, a new location was necessary for this year.

“El Ranchito decided to buy that building,” Huddleston said. “We were hoping it wouldn’t open before the season was over because we would’ve had to move out. Luckily, that worked out, and they didn’t open until later on.”About the time last year’s Farmer’s Market started, the COVID-19 pandemic was hitting the nation hard. Despite this, Huddleston said 2020 went very well for the event.

“We opened two weeks late last year,” she said. “We didn’t open until May 16, but this year, we’re opening May 1. The vendors didn’t notice any slower traffic or loss of revenue. There was a little tussle over whether we were going to have to wear masks or not or require people to wear masks or require vendors to wear masks. We decided not to, and it all worked out.”

Booths at the Farmer’s Market are $10 or $150 for a season pass, and Huddleston said reservations are not required to take part.

“I don’t have people reserve a spot because some people don’t know if they’re coming until midnight on Friday, so it takes the pressure off,” she said. “I really don’t need to know. I’ve got space. I’ll find a spot for them.”

Huddleston said, though, in order to have a booth advertised in advance, she does need to be contacted.

“I do tell them, ‘If you want me to promote you on Facebook, if you want me to promote you on Radio Bay, let me know you’re coming,’” she said. “If not, no big deal because I promote them on Saturday morning on Facebook too.”

Those needing more information can call Huddleston at 620-624-8832. Though they need simply show up to get signed up, she said vendors do need to be in place by 8 a.m. the day of the market.

Huddleston said the season pass option offers a savings of $70 for vendors who want to take part every Saturday.

“That does not have to be paid until the last Saturday in June, which is June 26,” she said. “That gives them a chance to come and pay $10 and see if they want a season pass. They get credit for whatever they pay.”

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