When the initial idea developed to provide fresh fruits and vegetables from local growers to a rural community, such as Mineral County, the concept transformed into providing distribution through an organized method known as the summertime Farmers Market. The procurement of proper sources became a number one concentration, which is where the initial organization skills began with Mark and Cindy Nixon of Hawthorne.
“By taking the time to tour the local growers and by putting feelers out among the other long-time community marketplaces, we learned where the sources would be. John and Carol Shank from Pershing County had a successful Farmers Market for over five years. They were kind enough to share a lot of resources and helpful hints from their experience, which we soaked up. The Farmers Market arena is a friendly group of community entrepreneurs that desire one another to succeed.”
The Nixon were pleased to tap into the organically grown vegetables from Yerington’s Peri and Sons, picking up items that are harvested the same day. Upon one pickup the Nixon’s actually were in the field with a worker harvesting the corn right off the stalk and into their container. The cleanliness and local farm connection made this grower a number one choice in providing Hawthorne the freshest vegetables around. Seeking out the fruit marketplace was more extensive, as the central California basin harvests the best fruit within driving distance, so choosing the growing experts of Schlatovitch Farms was another firm resource, as Nevada grown fruit was not an option.
Once the suppliers were secured, then it was discovered that a permanent location had to be established. Along with that, a non-profit status was pursued; county permits were paid for, as well as securing the proper insurance coverage required. Because of this, it was more cost effective to utilize the parking lot of their existing business at True Value Hardware on 5th Street to provide easy accessibility and visibility.
From there, local crafters were offered space with an atmosphere of ease and fun to round out the experience. Music was an added enjoyment this summer, creating an enjoyable time to linger around the many creative vendors.
The Farmers Market seemed to meet the needs of the local community, especially as they began to offer the Senior Program referred to as SNAP. This is a direct assistance in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services to help provide fresh nutrition to the senior population and is a coupon program distributed in Hawthorne by Care and Share. Although it added a layer of reporting and extra bookkeeping for the Nixon’s, it aligned with their mission of providing a marketplace of freshness and nutritional values to the local community. Because this has been a successful portion of their personal endeavor, an added program will begin. Slated for the middle of August the WIC program will also be participating with a coupon program through CAHS. Nursing mothers and those with young children that meet the WIC qualifications can now obtain fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables for their meals.
The Hawthorne Farmers Market began with an adjusted schedule this year, as weather conditions and extreme heat delayed many speciality crops, effecting the yield and readiness to harvest. With a moderate El Nino year, the results have been prolonged crops and an extended ripening time. The Farmers Market will still be available Aug. 12, 26 and Sept. 9 as the final wrap-up for 2016. This fresh from the farmer endeavor has provided a summer of healthy produce and a platform for many local talents to share their wares, which is what a Farmers Market is all about.