The Rexburg Farmers Market is putting on a Harvest Festival on Friday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Madison County Fairgrounds.
“We’re celebrating all the farmers and their produce that they have,” said Ronda Ball, assistant manager of the Rexburg Farmers Market. “We’re going to be giving away free pumpkins. We’re going to have face painting, a photo booth and karaoke. So we just want everybody to come and enjoy, have fun, and celebrate our farmers with us.”
The festival is being held as the harvest season continues in full-swing. This year’s final farmers market will be held Oct. 7.
“We have our regulars that come every week, but we’d like to get the word out and get more people from all over coming,” Ball said.
The market sells a wide variety of fresh produce — 95% of which is produced locally or raised in Idaho, said Jamie Ashcraft, manager of the Rexburg Farmers Market.
“We’ve got squash, corn, potatoes, lots of pumpkins right now, peaches, plums, radishes, onions, all different kinds of potatoes — purple ones, gold ones, Russets, tomatoes, peppers, and pickles,” Ball said. “(One stand), Black Bear makes homemade jams and jellies.”
“The Food Dudes, all their produce is grown in Ririe or Sugar-Salem. And if it’s the peaches, those come from Boise,” said Ball. “Everything’s in Idaho.”
The Rexburg Farmers Market is celebrating its 14th year. It opens each year in May. During the summer, it is open every Friday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
About 46 vendors attend each Rexburg Farmers Market, Ashcraft said, although 70 total vendors rotate between the various weeks the market is open.
The market also runs a double-up program with Food Stamps that allows EBT users to receive $15 in free produce every week.
“We do this EBT program, it’s SNAP-EBT for Food Stamps. People can bring their Food Stamp card and run it, and up to $15 we do a double-up where they basically get $15 of free produce,” Ball said. “We give them tokens for up to $15 worth, and they can get produce. That actually kicks back to our farmers also. It helps the community and it helps our farmers. It’s a really cool program — especially for young families. They can use those at any vendor that accepts the EBT. Any of our produce, honey, the Nature’s Greens, or fudge because it’s a prepackaged food, they can get that.”
Ball continued: “We’d love to get more people to come take advantage of that. It’s so helpful, and we have so many young families here in Rexburg that could benefit from this.”
Bryun Lemon runs a Sprouted Wheat bread stand at the market. Lemon’s son is allergic to wheat, and his family discovered that he could eat wheat sprouts with no problem.
“When you sprout the wheat, then it becomes a plant, and your body digests it like a vegetable… The carbs are lower in it, and the glycemic index is healthier,” Lemon said. “We figured out how, (after) eight years, we burned up wheat mills, we burned up dehydrators, we went through 3500 pounds of wheat, we figured out how to make the sprouted wheat into a flour.”
The Lemons make the flour into bread for people who normally can’t eat wheat products.
“We have people that are celiac, people that are gluten-intolerant, people that are allergic to wheat, people that are diabetic because it’s a lower carb, people that are eating healthy and people who just love the taste of the bread,” Lemon said. “We make bread that tastes good, but it’s also healthy and easy for the body to digest as a vegetable. So a lot of people that have trouble with bread for just anything — everything from Crohn’s to arthritis to diabetes to gluten-intolerance — people can handle the bread.”
They sell directly to consumer either online or at farmers markets.
At the next stand, Paul Kent sells Grandma Twila’s Gourmet Fudge. Grandma Twila’s creates over a hundred flavors of fudge.
“My favorite’s milk chocolate or Amish cream,” Kent said.
At Nature’s Green’s, Marvin Frandsen sells microgreens. He raises a wide-variety including peas, broccoli, kale, arugula, mustards, a sunlight salad mix, China rose radishes and sunflower seeds.
He’s going to provide a delivery service this winter after the market closes.
In addition to food items, custom sewn, hand-created backpacks and bags, 3D-printed dragons, hand-crocheted crafts and baby rattles, Cedar Works wall hangings, pressed flowers-preserved in resin, knives, custom jewelry and more are all available at the market.
“Everything here is handmade,” said Ashcraft. “It has to be hand-created. It has to be your stuff.”
The farmers market serves as a center for community gathering.
“It’s really a good atmosphere. It’s very family-friendly. It feels like family. It feels like community. It’s really a good place to gather and visit,” Ashcraft said.