Greater Tulsa Reporter
HEALTHY EATING: The Owasso Farmers Market kicks off its 10th season at the end of April. The market will run through the spring and summer months, 8 a.m. – noon on Wednesdays and Saturdays, located in the parking lot of the Owasso Family YMCA, 8300 N. Owasso Expwy.
The Owasso Farmers Market will kick off its 10th season at the end of April/early May. The market will run through the spring and summer months, 8 a.m. – noon on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
“Besides Tulsa’s Cherry Street Farmers’ Market, we are the oldest market in greater Tulsa,” says Lee Ann Boyer, board member and vice president of operations for the Owasso Farmers Market.
Seventy percent of the market’s vendors are produce vendors, Boyer says. Other vendors, such as Blakley Family Farm Meats, will sell hormone-free meats, plants, honey and handcrafted soaps.
For nine of the market’s 10 years, it has been located in the parking lot of the Owasso Family YMCA, 8300 N. Owasso Expwy.
Boyer credits the consistency of the market’s location, the growth of the city of Owasso and the national trend toward healthier eating as reasons for the market’s continued success and growth.
“People have become more interested in avoiding antibiotics, hormones, GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms),” she says.
In addition, the market offers a more inexpensive alternative to organic produce.
“If you can buy from local farmers, even though they’re not certified organic, you can feel confident in what you are buying and get near-organic produce,” she says.
Boyer hopes to further help shoppers with a grant she expects the market to obtain through the U.S. Department of Agriculture that would allow the market to match the dollar amount that SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) users spend on produce, up to $20 per visit.
Two years ago, the market offered a similar program with funds it received from the Cherokee Indian Nation. “That caused our SNAP business to go through the roof,” Boyer says. She hopes with this new grant, if approved, the market will experience a similar increase in SNAP patrons.
Another offering to keep costs down is the Oklahoma Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program offered through the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. The program provides financial assistance to older citizens, allowing them to purchase fresh, locally-grown fruits, vegetables and herbs from certified farmers.
Two Kid’s Days will be held during the market season, usually during the summer months, says Boyer, with family-friendly attractions and craft activities.
Tulsa’s Cherry Street Farmers’ Market begins its 18th season on April 4 with a name change to Tulsa Farmers’ Market. The new name allows the market to encompass more than just Cherry Street, says Market Administrator Penni Shelton; this includes on Brookside, where the winter market (open November-March) and the Wednesday summer market (open May-October) operate in the Whole Foods Market parking lot, 1401 E. 41st St.
The Tulsa Farmers’ Market will be open every Saturday 7 a.m.-11 through October.
Among its new vendors is the Justin Thompson Restaurant Group. Thompson, a well-known local chef, owns and operates four area restaurants: Juniper, Tavolo Italian Bistro, Prhyme Downtown Steakhouse, and 624 Kitchen and Catering. Thompson’s prepared food tent will offer fresh and frozen food items that are specifically created for the farmers market crowd, says Shelton.
Other newcomers include Mod’s Coffee and Crepes food truck; Brian Thurmon with Grassfed Jerky, selling beef jerky made from Koehn’s Grassfed meats; and a Sapulpa-based microgreens farm.
Additionally, starting April 23, The Market at Guthrie Green in downtown Tulsa will offer produce and other food vendors every Thursday through Oct. 29, 4-7 p.m.
This market will replace Guthrie Green’s Sunday Market that operated in previous years.
“We saw the need for a downtown grocery store and wanted to provide more opportunity to downtown dwellers for fresh produce,” says Guthrie Green Program Administrator and Market Manager Julia White.
However, there are plans to offer special bazaars on various Saturdays throughout the upcoming season for crafters and other local artists.
Other area farmers markets include the Rose District Farmers Market in downtown Broken Arrow, opens April 18, Saturdays 8 a.m. – noon, and Jenks Main Street Farmers Market in the parking lot of Tedford Insurance, 121 E. Main St., opens April 4, Saturdays 8 a.m. – noon.