By TEDDYE SNELL
Farmers’ markets are traditionally seasonal, catering to those who want locally grown fruits, vegetables and other goods for their tables.
This year, though, the Tahlequah Farmers’ Market is offering its first online winter forum, filling demands for everything from artisan goat cheeses to homemade soap.
Canyon Ridge Farms has gained popularity at the local market over the past three years, and provides patrons with fresh eggs, goat’s milk and cheeses. Canyon Ridge Farms co-owner Marty Tinsley said she’s excited to provide customers with year-round service.
“The Tahlequah Farmers’ Market has just begun our first winter online market in an effort to serve the area’s dedicated farmers’ market-goers on a year-round basis,” she said. “Our online market and vendors will take orders and then deliver the ordered items to the customers every two weeks at Norris Park from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.”
The order period is open from the Sunday after the delivery date until the Wednesday prior to the next delivery date.
“For the current order period, the online market will stay open through noon on Friday, Nov. 16, so that everyone is able to get all of the local products they want for their special holiday meal,” said Tinsley.
Winter market delivery dates are Nov. 17; Dec. 1, 15, and 29; Jan. 12 and 26; Feb. 9 and 23; and March 9 and 23.
Tahlequah Farmers’ Market President Marla Saeger said products, by nature, will be limited, but she hopes growers will be able to expand offerings next winter.
“I am extremely excited about the winter online market,” said Saeger. “We were really sad to close out the outdoor market season, and wanted to expand and provide things people enjoy. We won’t be able to provide all the produce this year, but next winter we hope to, as many of the growers are looking at building greenhouses.”
Vendors participating this winter include Canyon Ridge Farms, Single Loop Ranch, Daisy Acres Soap, Four Seasons Handyman, and Heaven Sent Food & Fiber.
“I know we’ll have goat cheese, goat milk, eggs, and the homemade doggie treats,” said Saeger. “One of our crafters is also participating, and will have hand-dyed wool for knitting. I also believe some beef will be coming available. As the farmers adjust to the online market, they’ll begin to produce more for the winter months. It will also allow better year-round communication between the farmers and their customers.”
TFM Vice President Linda Johnson, of Single Loop Ranch, is also a participant in the winter market.
“I’m excited about the prospect of the winter market,” said Johnson. “We’ll have fresh eggs all winter long for our customers. Also, I make the homemade dog treats. In January, we’re hoping to provide fresh ground been and stew meat, available from our naturally raised cattle. We’re trying to get more growers involved; it just takes time.”
To sign up for the online venture, visit http://tahlequah.locallygrown.net/welcome. Participants can sign on to the website and view all available products.
“Product availability may change with the time of year and the weather, just like it does in the summer months,” said Tinsley. “More vendors are gearing up to participate in the near future. If you miss the ordering deadline for the on line market, we encourage you to contact the vendors directly, since there may still be items available.”