|Written by Greg Ruland|
|Friday, 24 June 2011 00:00|
Cottonwood wants as many farmers, gardeners, crafters and canners as it can find to sell their homemade goods and produce at the Cottonwood Farmers Market and Jamboree, Cottonwood Parks and Recreation Special Events Coordinator Hezekiah Allen said.
The city is currently accepting applications from potential vendors for the market that opens 5 p.m. Thursday, July 7, at Cottonwood Activity Park, 187 E. Pima St.
In addition to the many items for sale, visitors traditionally enjoy a variety of music performed live on stage at the park. This year, for the first time, one of 11 different bands or musicians will perform at every market, Allen said.
Marilyn Maier, a retired teacher who sold fresh fruit and flowers at the market last year, said she and her husband, Steve, also a retired teacher, hope to participate again this year, depending on how much produce their trees yield.
“The pull of the market is that it is entertainment and it does give us a little supplementary income,” Marilyn Maier said.
“It’s just a hobby for us,” she said. “We have always had a love of gardening and growing things.”
Last year, the Maiers sold apples, peaches, plums, apricots and Asian pears, as well as herbs, flowers and cacti.
“We rescue geraniums from people who are changing out their gardens in the fall,” she said. “Steve [Maier] takes them home, clips them back and replants them in our little, makeshift greenhouse.”
“Our whole purpose when we ended up having more than we could use was to get fruit out to children,’ she said. “We give free samples to every child who comes to our table. We want children to be able to have fresh fruit and learn to eat fresh fruit.”
For Alice Lukasik, Cottonwood Farmers Market is a distribution point for the fruit and vegetables of her family’s orchard and gardens, planted more than 35 years ago by her father, James Gamble, now deceased.
Lukasik carries on the tradition by selling corn, squash, tomatoes, beans, carrots, melons, peppers, garlic, cucumbers, beets, chard, jicama, plums, apricots, apples, grapes, persimmons and pomegranates.
“This how I take care of myself,” Lukasik said. “I provide myself with an income I can live off of for the rest of the year.”
“Any gardener understands it’s a challenge; it’s a creative challenge. You have to use a lot of problem-solving. Also, you always get rewarded for your efforts. Then, when it’s all done, you start dreaming about next year.”
For more information, call 639-3200.
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