Special edition of Farmington Growers Market planned this weekend

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Several special attractions are planned during the Aug. 27 edition of the Farming Growers Market in celebration of LocalFoodConnectsNM Month and National Farmers Market Month.

The market will feature live music by the Third Hour Jazz Band, children's art activities, balloon animals, a canning demonstration, food trucks and face painting, among other activities.

The event is being presented by the Northwest New Mexico Growers' Market Alliance, which includes markets in Aztec, Bloomfield, Shiprock, Kirtland and Farmington.

It is being used to raise awareness about the Double Up Food Bucks program, which provides SNAP recipients with a dollar-for-dollar match to buy locally grown fruits and vegetables. Aaron Greenwood, who took over as the market's new director in June, said the market typically attracts a sizable number of SNAP clients every week.

"We do, and that's truly something I wish our community knew more about," she said. "That's something I've been advocating about since I took this job. We usually have thousands of dollars in SNAP money spent every Saturday."

David Elder assists a customer, Saturday, June 13, 2020, at Farmington Growers Market.

The event also will feature gift bag giveaways every 30 minutes during the market, with a grand prize gift bag being awarded at the close of the day. Greenwood said the gift bags will include $100 in market tokens that can be used like cash, while the grand prize gift bag will offer a custom-made cutting board created by a market vendor.

A highlight of the day's activities will be a tomato tasting competition set to take place at 9:30 a.m. A panel of five judges will taste heirloom tomatoes grown by market vendors and vote on a winner.

Greenwood said the vendor with the winning entry will receive recognition as an award.

"Farmers are very humble people, and they don't need a prize for something like this," she said. "This is just for bragging rights. That's basically how farmers function."

Greenwood said she has worked hard to promote the market on social media since taking over this summer, and she has seen those efforts pay off with increased attendance. Crowds that used to number approximately 500 people now come closer to 3,000 on Saturdays, she said, and she is hoping for an even greater turnout this weekend.

"I think we could have 5,000 people," she said.

The market takes place in the parking lot at the Farmington Museum at Gateway Park, 3041 E. Main St. It runs from 8 a.m. to noon. Call 505-334-9496 for more information.

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