By: Susan Erler | Category: Other | Issue: June 2010
Local organic producer Annette Riherd welcomes you to enjoy nature’s bounty at the Owasso Farmers Market on Wednesday and Saturday mornings at the Owasso Family YMCA.
Getting back to the basics has become very “in” lately. More and more people are trying to eat healthier, choose organic products, and take better care of our environment. Of course, this lifestyle comes as nothing new to those involved with local farmers markets. One of the best around has been in business for the past five years and just keeps getting bigger and better every season.
The Owasso Farmers Market is the dream of local organic producer Annette Riherd. Annette is a long-time organic grower who was struggling to get into the Tulsa area farmers markets. Instead of just feeling frustrated, she decided to do something about it! After scouring the local area and speaking with several people, she was offered a home in the parking lot of Rejoice Church, located at 106th and Hwy. 169 in Owasso. “It was such a blessing to be able to get our start there,” says Annette. “We were only open on Saturdays, but it allowed us to see the need for a farmers market in this area.”
The Owasso Market thrived there until they decided to expand hours to include Wednesday mornings as well at the Owasso Family YMCA. “It was really a perfect fit with the YMCA. Since most of their clients are focused on healthier living already, it is just natural for them to stop by our vendors before or after they work out,” she said.
After much success there, the YMCA decided to let them hold the market there for both days of the week, thus giving them their current home. The hours for the market are Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.
Annette loves to educate people about the differences in the Owasso Farmers Market and others. She is quick to point out that every vendor there grows or creates their product locally. “Some other markets allow people to bring items in from outside the state, even as far away as Mexico!” says Annette. “I think that by keeping ours local, it not only is healthier, but it keeps our local economy supported.”
After getting a slow start with only three vendors, including herself, she is thrilled to report that the market now has become a small community of sorts. There are over 32 vendors signed up to showcase their wares there, although not all show up each time it is open. Sometimes people who sell their items at the Tulsa market will come out to the Owasso one, simply because they really enjoy the atmosphere.
“Our people really care about each other. They are always there to lend a helping hand when it comes to putting up and taking down tents, and they become friends with their customers, many of whom attend the market every time it is open.” Annette tells a story of one vendor who hadn’t seen a particular customer for two weeks and called just to make sure she was OK. It is this “family” atmosphere that makes farmers markets even more popular.
Annette is quick to point out that she is not a one-woman show when it comes to making the market a success. She is thrilled to have on board two managers who each help with the running of the market and finding new products to offer customers. Nancy Blakely, owner of Creekside Plants and Produce in Oologah, has come on board to be the Wednesday market manager, and Lee Ann Boyer is the Saturday market manager. They even have a person who is in charge of their newsletter and website too. Each is working towards making the Owasso Farmers Market the very best it can be. “I am so excited with the success we have achieved,” says Annette. “We really offer a sense of family and community. Owasso is a city that is made up of people from all over, but they still want to be a part of something that is wholesome and pure.”
Another fun aspect of the market is the focus they put on education. They spend a great deal of time holding events such as a salsa making competition, and offering many other education opportunities for all of their clients. Be sure to check their website for all the newest things going on with the market: www.owassofarmersmarket.com.