Our Dock Talk today is with one of the Spooner Farmers Market manager assistants, Nikki Halverson, not only a market enthusiast, but a happy supporter of The Dock. This morning she’s having a coconut milk latte, and a breakfast of a ham, egg and cheddar croissant sandwich.
Nikki, her husband and little son have only lived in Wisconsin for a few years, coming from the Twin Cities, and she is all in when it comes to living in the country and being a stay-at-home mom while producing unique products for the SFM, like she used to sell at the Cities Market.
Market Manager and the owner of a Fine Pickle for 10 years, Lei Jerry, has experienced some medical setbacks recently, so it's Nikki and her cohort Chrissy that will be manning the market until Lei gets back on her feet.
So, Nikki, did you have any trouble adjusting to country living?
Not at all, I love it up here! I live in the woods on 5 acres and enjoy gardening, mushroom hunting and seeing the wild life in my yard. When I moved up here I joined Americorps and worked with the Spooner Elementary school garden and now I’m part of the Master Gardeners. I really enjoy gardening with the kids.
How did you get connected to the Spooner's Farmer's Market, and what do you sell there?
I was patron of the market for a couple years while it was at its old location. I sold my baby bibs, bonnets, hats and soaps at a few craft shows up here then gave the farmer’s market a go. I have had lots of success.
You mentioned that there are both full-time vendors and part-time. What makes them different and what does it cost to participate each way?
A full time vendor commits to all of the weekends and gets a discount on vendor fees. A part time vendor picks what weekends they would like to sell. A lot of seasonal vendors are part time. We are always looking for new vendors including food truck/ restaurant vendors. Full time is $150 for the season and part time is $15/ Saturday.
Where does the money go?
The vendor money is used to pay for our insurance, port a potty rental, mowing fees, advertising and any items we might need to make the market more enjoyable for our patrons. Last year we purchased three picnic tables and umbrellas for customers and families to use and enjoy breakfast or a cup of coffee.
The market has experienced lots of changes since it first started years ago with its different locations and vendors. One vendor that seemed to anchor the market have been the Hmong growers from Chippewa Falls, three families participating since 2003.
What can you tell us about them and what they offer not only for sale, but on an order-basis? I think you also said they take the WIC cards towards produce sales?
Our Hmong growers are the ones who lent stability to the market. Each family have their own garden between 3-10 acres. They harvest their produce the night before the market, wash it and box it up. Their colorful produce displays are beautiful and constantly change based on what is ready to harvest. They have fresh cut flower bouquets for sale and take orders for weddings and special events via our facebook page. The Hmong produce vendors accept WIC checks for produce making our market accessible for all families in our area no matter their income level.
Will you please tell us who your full-time vendors are this year and who is new and who has become a staple at the market?
Returning vendors are A Fine Pickle, Jacks Java, Organo, Blue Gables Bake Shop- New this years is Chickadee Hills Homestead selling pastured pork, eggs and duck eggs. Honey, Nuthouse Breads selling yeast breads, quick breads and granola. Northwoods Nummies selling cupcakes and cookies. Tavis’ Wild and Exotic Mushrooms which are culinary mushrooms.
Because some of the vendors do not have product until later in the year, they are considered part-time. Who might some of these vendors be?
Greensleeve Farms selling heirloom pumpkins and tomatoes, Castle's Honey,Bernie’s bottles- bird feeders, Woodchuck Designs- handcrafted cutting boards, Yellow River Greenhouse, Honey, Apples and Corn.
The standard business mantra is location, location, location. Does your crew feel you're current location is a good spot because it's on highway 63 south of Spooner across from Economart?
We love this location! We are easy to get to and have plenty of parking.
Our address is 805 S River St Spooner, Wisconsin
The three of you, being well-organized, must have a Facebook page and contact information, may be ask how people can find you to learn more?
Please like and follow Spooner Farmer’s Market on facebook for weekly vendor updates throughout the season, and lease email us at email@example.com if you would like more information or would like to sign up to be a vendor.