Local farmers market attracts vendors

Mallory Moats

Every Saturday, farmers and artisans bring their harvests and crafts to fill the local farmers markets. Shoppers wander from stall to stall looking at the variety of goods, whether it be fresh produce, handmade birdhouses, soaps and lotions, or scented candles; something is guaranteed to catch their eye.

“You can find some really interesting things, and meet some interesting people [at the farmers market],” said Remington Effinger, a Rolla High School freshman and owner of Remi Eats.

Effinger sells salsa and produce that he makes and grows at the Rolla Downtown Farmers Market every week.

“I had a garden, and I was making salsa because one of my mom’s daycare parents had given me a recipe,” said Effinger, “I tweaked the recipe so it would taste better. Then, someone recommended that [I] should sell stuff at the farmers market, which was a whole domino effect. I got a business license, and now here I am.”

Effinger admitted he only participates in the farmers market for the pizza (pepperoni from the Therefore, Pizza food truck is his recommendation), but after nudging from his mom, Effinger shared the other, more long lasting, fulfillments he gains from this endeavor.

“It’s fun, and I really do like it,” said Effinger, “I [also] can make money off it, which I can save for college.”

Terry Bingham, co-owner of Peaceful Valley Creations, another stand at the Rolla Downtown Farmers Market, shared a different view of why he continues to return year after year.

“I was in between jobs and needed to make a little extra money until I got a more permanent job,” said Bingham, “That’s how it started, but I found I kind of liked it. It’s fun to talk with people, interact with them, and learn from their experiences because that’s a lot of what this is, being able to relate with someone on the other side of the table. I’m taking your money, but along with it, I’m getting some of your trust.”

The diversity of sellers and their viewpoints at the farmers market is a unique trait of the experience. Another trait is the specialty products a shopper can find. Tammi Palmer, owner of Ozark Outlaw’s Soapery, sells lotions and soaps, but with a twist. Her products are made out of goat milk.

“I started small [with making products] because we have allergies to cow’s milk,” said Palmer, “Then, when we started milking our goats [for our products], we got too much milk. We were trying to figure out what we’re going to do with it, so it didn’t go to waste. Now, we have 35 goats to get our own milk.”

The limited ingredients Palmer uses in her products helps make them accessible to all people.

“Our lotion tends to work well for people who have allergies and skin sensitivities too,” said Palmer, “My niece has some skin sensitivities, and this is what she uses.”

Another unique product sold at the Rolla Downtown Farmers Market is James Gang candles.

“They’re 100% soy wax and all eco friendly down to the wick,” said Michael “Mandy” James, recent Rolla High School graduate and owner of James Gang Candle Co., “What I like about them is they don’t put soot on your walls or your ceilings, and they’re really clean to burn and breathe.”

For James, her candle making business provides a way for her to honor her grandmother’s legacy.

“Five years ago, my grandmother passed away, and she owned James Gang,” said James, “I inherited all of her candle making supplies, even the name, so I took over and created these lovely things.”

As a participant at the farmers market, James is able to generate more business for her candle enterprise.

“I was looking for something [that would] put my name out there and [help me] get more sales,” said James, “The farmers market was one of the few things that’s continuing every week, so it is really putting my name out there. I’m getting a lot of business.”

The Rolla Downtown Farmers Market is every Saturday 8am-12pm and Wednesday 3-6pm April – October and every Saturday 8am-12pm November to March with select vendors. The Rolla Saturday Farmers Market is in the Big Lots parking lot every Saturday 7am-1pm April – October.