Shiprock Farmers' Market opens season this week
SHIPROCK — Israel Zahne sat in the back of his family's pickup truck and arranged the assortment of melons they brought to sell at the Shiprock Farmers' Market on Aug. 19.
Nearby, Jennifer Zahne, the 10-year-old's mom, explained to customers that the cantaloupes, melons, zucchini and butternut squash were handpicked that afternoon from the family's farm in Hogback.
"We had so much and decided to see if we can come out and sell them," she said.
This week marked the start of the farmers market, which takes place on Monday and Wednesday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Shiprock Chapter house parking lot. Beginning on Aug. 29, it will add Saturday hours from 8 a.m. to noon.
Trini King, the market coordinator, said the market offers access to fresh produce, which can be scarce to purchase on the Navajo Nation, and an opportunity for farmers to interact directly with customers.
King said the market accepts checks from the Women, Infant, Children Farmers' Market Nutrition Program and from the Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program. Also accepted are vouchers from the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program issued by the Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment Program in Gallup.
New this year is the acceptance of EBT-SNAP benefits, she added.
While the new coronavirus has altered the interaction between farmers and customers – the market follows state, tribal and federal guidelines and those from the New Mexico Farmers' Marketing Association – the spirit of providing fresh local food remains intact.
"This COVID pushed us to think creative – what can we do to create a safer environment, not just for ourselves, but for the community because this is what the community needs," King said.
For more information about the Shiprock Farmers' Market, contact 505-609-0202 or visit the market's Facebook page.
Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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