Farmers market season is in full bloom

First market of the year has positive responses

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Farmers market season is in full bloom

Kim (left) & Doug (right) Sjostrom stand at their booth for the first farmers market of the year.

Kim (left) & Doug (right) Sjostrom stand at their booth for the first farmers market of the year.

Photo by Graham Rowe

Kim (left) & Doug (right) Sjostrom stand at their booth for the first farmers market of the year.

Photo by Graham Rowe

Photo by Graham Rowe

Kim (left) & Doug (right) Sjostrom stand at their booth for the first farmers market of the year.

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Around 20 vendors and hundreds of community members gathered Saturday in Phoenix Park for the year’s first Eau Claire Farmers Market.

Erin Geraghty, a customer attending the market, said going to the farmers market is “a staple part of Eau Claire. It’s just what you do on a sunny day on a Saturday.”

Geraghty said she enjoys the variety of products at the market and usually likes buying the fresh fruits and veggies. She added she is planning on biking to the market almost every Saturday and looks forward to when there are events going on near the market.

Doug Sjostrom, a vendor with Honey Hills Apiary, who has been a member of the market for ten years, had products that differed from the rest. The family-owned business sells honey in addition to beeswax candles, creamed honey in several flavors, lip balm and hand cream.

“Naturally, we like to sell our products, but the farmers market is such a good atmosphere,” Sjostrom said. “Everybody is in such a good mood, and it’s just fun to talk and deal with people.  It’s just a good social event.”

Sjostrom said he got his start working with bees and honey through a 4-H project when he was 13 or 14 years old and decided to order a hive from Sears.

“My Dad got interested in them and he bought some and it slowly expanded and then we started selling retail,” Sjostrom said.

Sjostrom said although this is the only market where he sells his products, he also goes into roughly 20 grocery stores to make sure they are stocked on their products.

“Honey is just a great product,” Sjostrom said. “If you go to eat honey, your body will take in all the nutrients, whereas if you eat sugar, your body will waste most of the sugar.”

Gerald Simmonds, an attendee of the market, said visiting the farmers market is part of a tradition.

“I love that (the farmers market) is outside. It doesn’t feel like a chore like grocery shopping inside usually does,” Simmonds said. “It’s just kind of a nice outing to go do instead of making it feel like work.”

Kim Sieglaff, who was also at the event, said she always comes to the first market and usually attends the market every other week.

“I get a lot of my food from the co-op or here as much as I can. So I am all about shopping locally as much as possible, so obviously this is a great option for that,” Sieglaff said. “More people should come, it’s a great event that the city supports.”

The market is every Saturday from 7:30-1 p.m. through the end of May at Phoenix Park. From June 1-October 29, the market is open Wednesdays 7:30-1:00 p.m., Thursdays 12:00-5:00 p.m., and Saturdays 7:30-1:00 p.m.

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