TAHLEQUAH — Rain or shine, the Tahlequah Farmers’ Market makes its presence known every Saturday at Norris Park.
Marla Saeger, president of the Farmers’ Market Board, said the market is in its eighth year and still going strong.
“We’ve got a variety of goods, from wools to wine and goat cheese to vegetables,” Saeger said. “This week, we have flowers, an author and jewelry as well. We’ve even got Cherokee Nation here doing blood pressure screenings.”
The Tahlequah Farmers’ Market is open from 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday from the beginning of April until October.
Twenty to 25 booths were lined up just outside Norris Park, and all the goods Saeger described — and more — were offered. Just about everything a goat could give someone was for sale, and the market even featured live music by Mike Allen, who serenaded folks on his small pipes and banjo.
Allen said he’s been coming to the market since its inception.
“I like it because you know what you’re getting,” Allen said. “You know what’s in the food, and you know who is growing the food. These people work hard to get it here, too. It’s good food at a good, competitive price, and everyone should be eating fresh food anyway.”
Saeger said that in local schools, she found an alarming amount of students who had never even seen fresh produce, and that prompted her to start a mini fresh market she’ll bring to local schools with the help of a grant by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We’re a big family here,” Saeger said. “We help each other set up. We help each other tear down. This is like church to me.”
Ruth Stevenson came prepared: She walked into the market with a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses and a basket lined with plastic bags.
“I came to get some tomatoes,” Stevenson said. “My plants didn’t produce this year, and I need some. I try to come out when I can. I have a garden at home, but when it doesn’t give me something, I come here to get it. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is so important.”
Vicke Adams, who owns Goingsnake Farms, said she brings her goat’s milk body products out for people to buy.
“It’s soaps and lotions,” Adams said. “The body butter I make is a third goat’s milk, a third aloe vera, and the other third is butters and oils. Then, I fragrance them with essential oils. It’s all natural ingredients. It’s not like when you go to the store. The lotions there have water and alcohol.
“My farm is just north of Proctor, so this is the most convenient place for me to sell things,” Adams continued. “And it’s a nice market. For a small town, it’s great. This is my first year, and all of the vendors are so cooperative.”
Saeger said the market will see anywhere from 500 to 700 visitors on a Saturday, and it’s best to come early when the weather is cooler and the produce is available.
Oklahoma is next to last in consumption of fruits,” she said. “We are 44th in consumption of vegetables and the sixth most obese state in the nation. You can find all kinds of fresh fruits and vegetables here. This is where you can start getting healthier.”