Fallon’s Farmers Market has returned home.
After years of moving from various sites, the annual event began the 2016 season on Friday on East Center Street in front of the Food Hub.
“I am very happy to see it running, and it’s nice to see the market downtown again,” said Jo Petteruti, Food Hub Fridays committee chairperson. “It’ll be a long season, and we’ll have more and more vendors. I like to see more artisans, craft people, growers and producers.”
Although the first farmers market has a handful of vendors, the enthusiasm for a weekly event to showcase local agricultural products far outmatched the modest number of vendors, and according to Petteruti, the committee will add other events to enhance the market and other downtown merchants such as live music.
“This is going to grow, and it’s just a start,” said local producer Rick Lattin of Lattin Farms, “to let people know we are.”
For the rest of the season Food Hub Fridays will set up from 4-7 p.m. until the end of September.
Lattin is no stranger to the area’s many farmers markets. He said he is very encouraged with what the Food Hub has done with its online marketing. Furthermore, Lattin said Food Hub Fridays will be beneficial for growers as it gives them another outlet to sell their products.
For Lattin, the addition of the Friday market makes a total of seven he attends each week during the season, and as the summer grows so does the number of available products.
“As the season progresses, we’ll have more vegetables and fruits,” Lattin pointed out. “The Hearts of Gold cantaloupes look really good, but we’re about two weeks behind.”
Lattin and other producers said two weeks of rain in May pushed back the growing season.
“But we’ll catch up,” Lattin predicted.
One local producer of honey is adding Food Hub Fridays to his list. Michael and Louise Hamerski had a booth showing their Honey Hill Farm product. Although he first learned beekeeping as a young boy, Michael Hamerski said his business has taken off.
Hamerski, a Fallon resident since 2010, said production has been good because of the large amount of fruit on his trees. For this season, though, Hamerski plants to sell at the Farmers Market and the annual Fallon Cantaloupe Festival. Already, the supply he left at the Food Hub has already sold out.
In addition to producing honey, Hamerski received a U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant to educate the public on honey bees and to promote the consumption of local honey.”
Marshall “Mo” Coverston graduated last month from Churchill County High School, but the entrepreneurial bug bit him. Coverston, with help from his family, became interested in beekeeping and honey production a year ago and has enjoyed the experience. He had a dozen jars of his locally produced First Fruits Sustainable Farms honey at his booth.
“I’m going to the farmers market every week and selling (honey) to the Food Hub,” he said.
Rau Bees Honey has been a familiar brand in Fallon since 2009 when Jon Rau and his son Josh, decided to foray into the honey producing business.
“This year we’re starting with the farmers market and then will work in Reno and Carson City,” Jon Rau said. “We’re at a good location, but in the future we’ll bring in a few other products from the hive such as lotion bars.”
As she surveyed the first farmers market of the year and seeing the number of customers visiting each vendor and leaving with their products, Frances Bourque (pronounced Burke), store manager of the Food Hub, smiled when seeing vendors return to what she said will be a productive summer season on East Center Street.
“I’m so happy it’s back downtown,” she said before visiting another booth.