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Meridian Main Street Farmer’s Market

Encouraging young entrepreneurs...to learn how to sell, and to create and manage money, manage their product and learn customer service

Summer in the Treasure Valley is all about the outdoors. The panoramic views that stretch between Boise and Meridian depict a vast sweep of high desert foothills and beckon the intrepid outdoor enthusiast to venture out and brave the blazing sun while closer in town, Cottonwood dander lazily blankets the banks of the Boise River inviting those who seek a cooler and shadier version of the summer tableau, and provide a very necessary sanctuary from the summer heat. Treasure Valley summers are a much-anticipated season of rafting, fishing, floating, or hiking or biking, a time to take advantage of mountain getaways and opportunities to get pleasantly lost in the woods. But the warmer months are not just about another day on the river or escapes to the mountains, there is another big piece of the Treasure Valley traditional summer schedule that is equally revered; spending time with the family at one of the many local farmer’s markets. 

Despite encroaching subdivisions, freeways, and modern conveniences, Idaho still maintains its strong agrarian roots and part of celebrating Idaho’s farming culture is the ability to interact, face to face, with one of its many small and local farmers. Fresh food and produce, locally grown and sourced, is not just about convenience, it is a way to support a vital part of the community and in turn, benefiting from eating the most nutritious and readily available food source.

Meridian Main Street Farmer’s Market manager, CheRee Eveland, has advocated for the idea of keeping food and products locally-sourced and most importantly, an integral part of local Idaho culture. How is she ensuring that farmers and local vendors stay active in the community? Easy – it’s all about the youth.

Says Eveland, “This is our third year. It was actually started five years ago by Merdian Mayor Tammy de Weerd when she created a youth farmer’s market – but it didn’t quite take off. So they sent a bid proposal out and my company won it and I’ve been running it for the last three years. The nice thing about our market is that we still have youth vendors.”

Each year Idaho loses more of its valuable farmland to developments. According to a Boise State University study if current rates continue, 200,000 acres of farm and ranch land will disappear from the Treasure Valley by 2100. And with it, will be the loss of this intimate relationship between ourselves and the earth as our food source and supplier. One way to counter this quickly disappearing practice and vocation is to involve our youngest citizens. 

Says Eveland, “We encourage youth entrepreneurs, what it’s like to have a booth, to learn how to sell, and to create and manage money, manage their product, learn customer service, learn paperwork, and budget.”

For those would-be budding farmers and young entrepreneurs who are interested in becoming involved with the Meridian Main Street Market, Eveland has some great advice and encouragement.
Says Eveland, “They can go to our website or our Facebook page. Both of them have links to fill out the applications. And really that is for anyone who would like to have a booth.”

Due to the current Covid crisis, many local vendors and small business owners have felt the brunt of the unstable economy, resulting in smaller numbers of vendors available. But decreasing numbers have not lessened the vitality of the downtown market and its commitment to the local economy. 

Eveland explains, “I follow the health and safety measures that the city required for the first few weeks until we hit the appropriate phase. We do not have any requirements any longer. It is an open-air market. Though we do not require masks, if people feel more comfortable wearing a mask outside, then that is their choice.”

And though Eveland and her vendors are weathering through a bit of the unknown with this summer season, it has not dampened any of her future plans for the market. 

Says Eveland, “We have plans to grow. We would love to see it get bigger and continue to support the community, especially with the youth vendors. We also tend to choose smaller, lesser known vendors, as a way to help them out.”

Part of this community involvement includes local musicians and bands in addition to food and produce vendors. Another great source of community has been involving the local food truck scene.

Says Eveland, “We are looking to get food trucks out as they have also been struggling.”

Looking for a way to support our local businesses? Spend a Saturday morning along Main Street in downtown Meridian. Shop, eat, and leisurely peruse uniquely local items and wares. Local businesses support our communities. And building strong communities is reliant upon our consumer spending choices. Choosing local farmers and vendors helps strengthen that spirit of community. 

Choose fresh. Choose healthy. Choose local.

For more information on location, hours, applications, and events, go to https://meridianmainstreetmarket.com/

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