Why shop at your local farmer’s market?

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  1. It helps small farmers grow their business

Farmer’s markets provide a low-barrier entry point for a budding farmer for them to see if they can be profitable. Shopping at a farmer’s market helps small farmers keep their cash flow positive that helps them continue doing business. If they keep on going, with the support of shoppers, there will only be growth.

  1. It helps the local economy and community

Our vendors come from within 50 miles of the City of Phoenix and it’s no surprise that most of the stuff they sell is locally grown or made. By shopping here, your money stays local; the money is passed on from one consumer to the next and helps establish a stronger local economy. The market also serves as a gathering place for the local community that helps build and strengthen relationships and camaraderie between neighbors of all backgrounds.

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Vendor Feature: SarahBea Un-granola

Use it to top yoghurt, with milk for breakfast, or on its own for a snack. Grab a bar for a burst of hiking or biking energy or share it among your trail buddies broken into crumbles. This sounds like granola, except it’s not. This is “ungranola.”

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Made with mainly a mix of nuts and seeds, Sarah Bea’s ungranola includes no grains, gluten, or dairy. Sarah Dunlop experimented with creating her recipe in 2015 when she and her daughter were trying the Paleo Diet, which does not allow eating grains or dairy. Sarah tried store-bought grain-free granolas, but couldn’t find any she really liked. So, she created her own.

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We stand for refugee success

At the Open Air Market at Phoenix Public Market, we’re all about helping our community. We help farmers and local businesses get their products to the masses and we help the people of our local community by providing a place where they can easily access those local farmers and businesses to support them. As a nonprofit organization ourselves, we’d like to take a moment to highlight another nonprofit organization we work with that’s making an incredible impact right here in our community as well as around the globe.

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Multi-sensory Market Discoveries [Shishito Shitake Shakedown]

Shopping at a farmers market awakens the senses and makes us realize that the exotic is not so far away. It’s a multi-sensory activity where we learn about, interact with, and become part of our surroundings. This week, we discovered that our favorite restaurant treat is available through a few of our farmers: Shishito Peppers!

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Shishito peppers are said to have originated in Eastern Asia. They are part of the Capsicum species, along with bell peppers and cayenne peppers. These crops generally do great in dry, hot climates and get more flavorful with more sun exposure. Lucky us – we’ve got plenty of that! Recently, shishito peppers have gained popularity and can be found usually as a finger-food appetizer at trendy restaurants. We found ours at Al Hamka Family Farm.

Shishito peppers vary greatly between crops – on the same vine, one may be sweet and mild while the one next to it is savory and spicy. That’s what makes them addictive! One local restaurant named them “Russian Roulette Peppers” because you never know what you’ll get, and if you’re into surprises, you’ll be digging for the hottest in the bowl.

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Since they’re so easy to prepare, why not try them at home? Maybe even on the grill! If you’re extra DIY, a lemon aioli is easily prepared in a blender – add a little smokiness or zing with paprika or apple cider vinegar.

To start our shishito dinner, we first reached for an ice-cold beer. Then, we threw our peppers in a grill basket with some lime juice and zest, garlic, soy sauce, black pepper, and canola oil to coat. We used a microplane for the lime zest and the garlic. They cooked on high heat for about 10 minutes, tossing every four minutes or so to ensure an even char. Next time, we intend to take the char even further than this go-around. Having too many peppers and not enough surface area makes for overcooked peppers without much texture – though never lacking in flavor. A nice blended salsa or sauce could be made with these if they do seem overcooked!

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We paired our shishitos with some shitake mushrooms from Southwest Mushrooms and some frozen potstickers. It made for a great weeknight meal that breaks up the monotony of salads, pastas, and meat-centric roasts. Each bite was definitely spicy! Dinner became a competition of how much heat we could handle…so it was nice to get the occasional mild pepper. Leftovers will go into brown rice with a drizzle of Saucy Lips Pineapple Thai sauce for take-along lunches.

Get inspired next time you’re at the Open Air Market by looking out for produce you don’t see year-round. A long, skinny pepper available by the handful? Ask the farmer what they usually do with it, where it comes from, why it thrives in our climate.

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Multi-sensory Market Discoveries [Lemon Verbena]

Shopping at a farmers market is nothing like shopping at a grocery store. It’s a multi-sensory activity where we learn about, interact with, and become part of our surroundings. This week, we discovered a new-to-us herb: Lemon Verbena!

During the last hour of the market, we happened upon Lemon Verbena at Maya’s Farm. We sniffed at the leaves wondering what it was, though the lemony aspect of it was very obvious. It smelled a little more floral than other herbs at the table, though everything at this booth toes the line between flower, herb, and vegetable.

Maya herself convinced us to take it home and experiment! She told us to make a tea with it by simply adding it to just-boiled water (being sure to take it off the heat once we put the leaves in). Lemon Verbena can also be used in salads, with fish and chicken, and whatever else lemon would otherwise be great with. We grabbed a couple bunches of it along with some of the robust rosemary next to it, and flaunted its beautiful smell to friends we bumped into on the way out of the aisle.

Little did we know…Lemon Verbena is highly medicinal! In its thin and bright green leaves, there is a high concentrate of antioxidant compounds, anti-inflammatory, and anti-spasmodic properties. It even moderates appetite and is a great anti-stress agent.

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The tea was refreshing and floral! We ended up specifically craving it over ice at the end of a long, hot day. But it also just made the house smell amazing! Adding a sprig of rosemary was a good move, giving the tea a bit of nuance and a savory touch. Mint would be a natural addition, too. Having a jar of concentrated Lemon Verbena tea is sure to improve Summer. Next, maybe roasted halibut with asparagus–that would go great with Lemon Verbena!
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Multi-sensory discoveries can be made all over the market. Get the most out of the Open Air Market by opening your senses–smell what you see and listen to what you can feel. Ask a farmer or a fellow shopper about their experience, inquire about the story behind a handmade good and truly connect with your local commerce.
Be sure to share your findings with us and the market community on Instagram and Facebook with #lettucemeatdowntown!

Summer Hours Begin May 19th

SummerHours

Shout-Out to Our Volunteers

We want to take a moment and acknowledge the humans who dedicate their Saturdays at the Market. Whether it’s once a week or once a month, our volunteers make the Market a special experience each and every week.  It takes a lot of elbow grease to create a smooth, consistent experience every Saturday and we rely heavily on volunteer help!

Our volunteers greet each market-goer with enthusiasm and warmth as they pass through our endearing alley entrance.

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They sweep up with a smile, ensuring that not only our lot and event space is tidy, but that the whole neighborhood is looking its best.

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They take ownership of fun programs, such as the Market Sprouts booth, to make our market well-rounded.

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They represent the market, getting to know the vendors and products, navigating the aisles and directing lost market-goers like it’s truly home.

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They make trips out to farms and commercial kitchens and write up blog posts – on top of their full-time job’s workload – so that we can educate our customers about the heart and process behind the haul. [See Marlys’ great work here]

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They assist vendors and special guests, acting quickly to support market programs and shoppers.

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They are accountants, retired elementary school teachers, high school students, and writers. They come to the market as reprieve from daily life, seeking the familiar smiling faces (and pastries) that will get them through the next 6 days until Saturday rolls around again. They come to the market to be part of something bigger than their bubble, to make an impact and help the community thrive and grow.

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Make your Saturdays something to seriously look forward to – become a market volunteer! There are many positions to fill and we can always use extra hands. We’ll see you soon (in an orange apron)…

APPLY HERE

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Prepare for Citrusocolypse

It’s every Arizonan’s duty to be able to recite the 5 C’s like the ABC’s: Cotton, Copper, Cattle, Climate, and CITRUS!

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In the early years of Arizona’s history, citrus was a major player in the fate of Arizona’s economy. Citrus was brought over to the Southwest in the 18th century by Spanish settlers. As grapefruit in particular gained popularity during the 1930s, more than 1 million crates of grapefruits were produced by our state in the year of 1935.

The industry flocked to Arizona, landing mainly in the Arcadia and Mesa areas, where many groves are landmarks for historic neighborhoods. The sprawl of these neighborhoods and urban areas in general encroaching on farmland is largely why orchards declined heavily in the 1990s.

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Our warm and sunny climate creates a perfect incubator for sweet, juicy citrus of many varieties. Today, shoppers at Phoenix Public Market can find tangelos, kumquats, ruby reds, and so much more in overwhelming abundance at every grower’s stand. The ubiquity of citrus in our Phoenician lives can make the fruit mundane and cumbersome, but there are plenty of ways to enjoy it and reap the nutritional benefits–it’s time to get creative!

Read on for 4 ways get excited about our prolonged and plentiful citrus season…

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13 years ago…

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The Phoenix Public Market is about to complete its 13th year of operation.  It was a dream envisioned by Cindy Gentry, an urban center-point where farmers and local businesses who did not have stores or big contracts could bring their products to the people of Arizona.

The idea was to create a non-profit market that champions Arizona products made by people who wanted to build their own business.  After much hard work by Cindy, that dream began on a rainy Saturday in February 2005.  About 14 vendors and a few more customers showed up the first day, along with then Mayor Phil Gordon and Councilman Michael Johnson, two of the earliest supporters, who rang the bell to get the day started.

Not only did it rain that first day, but the second day as well.  However, Cindy with all the vendors and volunteers kept the faith and just kept plugging along.  That faith and perseverance shown by everyone involved led to the ongoing growth in customers, vendors, and sales. Now, most Saturdays, there are 80+ vendors and 1,500+ customers.  The Phoenix Public Market has become a bedrock in Downtown Phoenix for people who come from the surrounding neighborhoods and often more than 20 miles away.

THANK YOU to everyone for supporting the Phoenix Public Market and your local community!

Strength in Numbers (of Conscious Shoppers)

With all the local marketplaces and events this time of year, those of us who are embedded in our community of local do-ers and movers don’t necessarily need an annual tradition boosted by a credit card company to remember the importance of supporting local economy. Still, Small Business Saturday is another one of those special days each year that we love, appreciate, and look forward to.

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According to the National Retail Federation, about 164 million consumers are expected to shop on Black Friday in 2017. For the seventh year, Small Business Saturday plans to redirect some of those shoppers to local businesses across the country rather than big-box retailers. For every $100 spent at a local business, $43 stays in local economy, whereas only $13 stays in local economy if spent at a non-locally-owned business.

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