Mary Hayward, 57, of the rural Maquoketa area, is working with members of the community to provide a farmers market for Maquoketa.
Currently retired, Mary does not work full time. A committee comprised of Judy Tonderum, Tom Devine, Ted Strait, Emily Babin, Leslie Hayes and Brian Hayward are meeting to plan the market. A couple of months ago, members of the committee approached her about becoming the market manager.
“I also feel that it is a way to do something constructive for my community,” Mary said.
In preparation of the farmers’ market, the steering committee has met weekly for the past four weeks to research location, schedules, rules and regulations, marketing ideas and other issues. The group is still fine tuning their marketing plan and signing up vendors.
So far, 25 people have attended the first vendor’s information meeting and approximately a dozen vendors have expressed interest in joining the farmers market.
Mary said the committee has several ideas for the farmers market. They hope to include a community booth each week, run by local groups such as 4-H, church groups and other non-profit organizations. The committee is also interested in having some kind of entertainment each week.
Mary’s duties will be that of an administrator. She will help with promotions and marketing, organizing the vendors, doing paperwork, helping to set up and assign booths and keeping up on rules and regulations. She will also get to ring the bell at the beginning of the market.
“ I am looking forward to meeting and getting to know our vendors and seeing all the customers. My favorite part would have to be the sights, sounds and smells. There is always a variety of items for purchase. Most people expect to see a lot of food, but there is a wide variety of non-edible and craft items we expect to include,” Mary said.
The Maquoketa Farmers Market will run between 4 and 7 p.m. Tuesdays from June 5 to Oct. 16. The market will be located at the Ohnward Fine Arts Center on the east edge of Maquoketa on Iowa 64/Platt Street. The market is affiliated with the Agriculture Committee of the Maquoketa Chamber of Commerce.
Mary feels the farmers’ market will be a benefit to Maquoketa by allowing residents to build up their community. It is a small business opportunity for someone and will provide producers an outlet for their wares.
“It means that each family can decide where their food comes from and actually meet the people who produce it. The consumer can ask questions directly to the producer and get to know him or her. Of course, all the food will be locally produced and fresh, this cuts down on the travel distance between food and table and promotes safer food,” Mary said.
People interested in the Maquoketa Farmers’ Market can check out their Facebook page or e-mail questions to email@example.com. The Vendor Application and Rules and Regulations is available at maquoketachamber.com.