Personal health provides motivation for market
Burns resident Sonda Bruce says starting a local farmers market is about creating a resource where she can get fresh fruits and vegetables without compromising her poor health.
“I wanted as much chemical-free, locally-grown produce as possible,” she said.
Bruce said her health is sensitive to certain chemicals, so finding a place where she can socialize and find healthy food is important.
While a farmers market isn’t a new concept, Bruce wanted to have it Tuesdays at 4 p.m., instead of over the weekend.
“I have so many people interested from neighboring towns,” she said. “Most of them don’t have farmer’s markets on Tuesdays and I chose it so Florence, Peabody, Newton, and everyone else can join and have fun with us.”
As a first-time seller, Jessica Kelly of Kelly’s Honey said she doesn’t have much preference, but she sees why Tuesday was chosen.
“I guess Tuesdays would be the better day to work around everyone else’s market,” she said. “Americus and Olpe will be starting later this summer, so Tuesday is what works best.”
In Bruce’s previous experience at a market in Branson, Missouri, it worked well to hold them as people were leaving work.
“If you have it when they’re getting out, then that’s when you have the most flow of people,” she said.
Farmers markets are important resources for small-town residents because grocery shopping isn’t always available nearby, Kelly said.
“If it’s like Strong City, there are no other stores, and you have to go 20 miles in any direction to go to a grocery store,” she said. “To have it right there and available, even once a week, is a great convenience.”
When the Bruces bought the old tire shop at W. 107 Broadway St. six months ago, there was a lot of local curiosity over its use, Sonda said.
“The talk all over town was about what we were going to do with it,” she said. “We weren’t going to do anything with it.”
While the former shop is where the market will be, Bruce said she and her husband are merely the hosts, not business owners.
“We aren’t charging any fees or anything,” she said. “We want it to be a community event where we just have fun and everybody has the chance to share what they have for sale.”
While it’s a “farmers” market, baked goods and crafts will be featured until produce is available in June or July.
Kelly is another person ready to get selling.
“Other than setting a little table up in our yard, we’ve never gone to a market or anywhere else,” she said. “We’d like to expand and get our product out to more places.”
While the honey sells well at her home in Strong City, it will be important to see how customers respond elsewhere, Kelly said.
“We know what we can sell at our home, or this little town,” she said. “What we don’t know is how it will sell in other areas, so this is an opportunity to test that.”
It will also be an opportunity to educate customers about honey, and test products she began making recently, like soaps, Kelley said.
“A lot of people don’t know you can replace your sugars with honey,” she said. “That’s something we’ll try to make them aware of. You can make wines and all kinds of things with honey.”
Last modified May 2, 2019