Lovers of fresh produce, rejoice! The farmer’s market season kicks off this weekend around the lake, with a majority of local markets starting during the first weekends of May. No matter which side of the lake you live on, there is an option for you. Here’s a look at where you can buy and what to expect:
Camdenton Farmer’s Market
The Camdenton Farmers’ Market will begin on May 1 and will be held at its standard time from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Market coordinator Sandy Nelson said the market has a full range of vendors ready to go this year and continue to get new produce as summer vegetables come into season. For meat lovers, there will be vendors of grass-fed beef, pork, lamb, goat and more. Nelson says she is delighted with the amount of produce available, as this is what she sees as the main importance of a local farmers market.
Despite this, she is also excited about the artisans and artists on the market in 2021. This includes vendors such as Gail Mosher of Country Primitives, who has brought her decorative flair to primitive objects for 25 years. There will also be carpenters, potters and more to showcase their art and crafts throughout the summer.
Nelson personally owns Box Turtle Ranch and also sells at the market. It offers a range of warm-season crops and specializes in peppers and tomatoes. Having the perspective of both the supplier and the coordinator, she says 2020 hasn’t been as bad as many might expect. She says the outdoor nature of the market has helped keep people safe, as well as the many sanitizing and cleaning options available to customers. She expects 2021 to be even better, as many residents brace for what could be a record summer for tourism.
“We have a wonderful community in Camdenton and we always appreciate the support,” said Nelson.
Osage Beach Farmers Market
The Osage Beach Farmers’ Market kicks off May 8 and runs 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday until early fall.
The Osage Beach Farmers Market has an eclectic selection of vendors with everything from slow roasted coffee and honey to baked goods inspired by European roots and products grown here in the region. Ask any supplier and they are eager to share their stories and experiences. Meeting the people who come to the markets, answering their questions about local products and products is part of the market experience.
Newcomer Markita Marikova-Thompson said she was eager to share her creativity and skills as a baker. Originally from the Czech Republic, Marikova-Thompson now lives in the lake region. She hopes to introduce homemade pastries to the markets. She will share the recipes her family made when she was growing up.
“I’m from the Czech Republic and I’m going to bring home-made European pastries,” said Marikova-Thompson. She can’t wait to share her love of baking and her creativity with the people who stop by the stand on Saturdays to discover her pastries. Marikova-Thomspson will offer sweet kolaches and savory items, such as freshly made cheese and prosciutto rolls which she affectionately calls “delicacies.”
Firefly Valley Farms will be at the market offering the perfect fresh roasted coffee beans to accompany baked goods. Dax and Stephanie Beaman are also newcomers to the Osage Beach market. Their farm on the banks of the Little Niangua River in Roach, will offer a variety of farm-fresh produce, including their fresh roasted coffee beans and locally produced honey.
“We are delighted to be able to take our coffees and other farm-grown goodies to our neighbors by the lake. We love to share our passion with our lake family, ”said Stephanie. “Weather permitting, we will also have strawberries, apples, pears, plums, peaches, nectarines, cherries and apricots. We also have a small amount of orchard honey and farm-fresh eggs. ”
Stephanie believes their best-selling product will be their Sumatran coffee. She recommends coming early or ordering in advance.
“I love it when people try our coffee and find out what the coffee should really taste like. Nothing compares to a super fresh cup of coffee. We pride ourselves on providing the highest quality and most ethical green coffee beans as well, ”she said.
Although Buckeye FarmZ is a household name in other markets, this will be their first year at Osage Beach. Owner Dalton Connell said Buckeye FarmZ takes pride in bringing the best from his farm.
“We sell just about anything that can be grown in our local Ozarks, from asparagus to tomatoes and spinach to potatoes. We also produce non-GMO chicken, beef, lamb and pork. All of them grew up in the pastures from day one to the end, ”said Connell. “Tomatoes are by far our biggest seller. Everyone loves a nice big juicy chop tomato with fresh bacon and lettuce for a BLT on Sunday after church.
Laurie Farmer’s Market
The Hillbilly Fairgrounds in Laurie is home to a new business weekly and the manager of Laurie Farmers Market hopes it’s here to stay. Donna Batlinger opened the market three weeks ago and brings in quality vendors from the Westside. Both businesses and other local farmers are at the market Friday afternoon from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Hillbilly Fairgrounds in Laurie.
Coyote Creek Farms is one such producer who grows and butchers non-GMO, antibiotic-free, pasture-raised Berkshire pork and Freedom Ranger chicken. A variety of cuts are available weekly at the Laurie Farmers Market, including bacon, ham, sausage, whole broilers and wings. Chris and Connie Matthews also sell their dozen packs of frozen scones in a selection of multiple flavors to take home and cook. Matthew’s scones are featured in cafes around the lake such as Higher Grounds in Camdenton.
Licorice Guy from Gravois Mills is new to the Westside, but not new to the candy business. Lexi Kirk moved to Gravois Mills in Iowa, recently bringing her family’s branded licorice recipe with her. The Licorice Guy is present in more than 50 outlets across the country, including Florida, Ohio and 13 other states. Its stand will be present at fairs and festivals in the lake region this year. In addition to the ever popular black and red licorice, Kirk offers cinnamon, blue raspberry, chocolate, and green apple.
Additional suppliers are needed. Call Donna Batlinger at 573-374-8776 or 573-836-5280 for more information.
Eldon Farmers Market
The Eldon Farmers Market is located at Rock Island Park in Eldon. They will be open every Friday from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. starting April 30 and will run until September. Coordinators Lori Ellis and Gabrielle Branstetter expect 15 vendors to attend each week. They say some weeks we’ll have more than others.
At Eldon Farmers’ Market, all items sold must be home made or grown on site. Shoppers can expect to find freshly picked vegetables, fruit, honey, baked goods, flowers, handmade aprons, pot holders and more.