Gardner’s Market to open Saturday

Mark Cowley a physics teacher at Green Canyon High School and the president of the Sustainable Agriculture Association of the Bear River Area, stands by one of his greenhouse tunnels Tuesday. He has participated in the Cache County Gardener's Market for 20 years.

LOGAN – Cache County Gardner’s Market (CCGM) will open May 8 at the same location behind the Cache County Administrative building at 200 North and Main Street. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gardner’s Market folks have all the state and local clearances needed to operate this season.

Mark Cowley inspects his garlic plant in one of his greenhouse tunnels Tuesday.

The event will go until October 16, operating from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Using last year as a measuring tool they are keeping this year’s 60 vendors socially distanced and bringing back food vendors and crafts.

This year’s President of the Sustainable Agriculture Association of the Bear River Area is Mark Cowley, a physics teacher at Green Canyon High School. He is ready for this year’s market. On his Amalga acreage he has over 100 of varieties of edible delicacies.

“This week I’ll have lettuce, onions, asparagus, carrots, beets, garlic scapes, arugula,” Cowley said. “With the tunnels I can start growing in January and February.”

The father of five has three green house tunnels and one is extra long, he put two together. He also has some other smaller greenhouses.

“I’ve been selling my produce at the Gardner’s Market for 20 years,” he said. “Getting my hands dirty by gardening is my therapy away from school and it teaches my kids to work.”

Mark Cowley of Amalga mailbox touts the name of his small acreage farm as Lost Creek Farms.

In seventh grade Cowley got a job at Rudy’s Greenhouse and that is where he gained his love and gardening knowhow.

“My wife and all of our five children help with the garden and the market,” he said. “They also package some of their own produce and sell it. Whatever money they make they keep.”

Cowley said having his children work on the family farm and sell their own produce teaches them money management skills and how to work hard. He also said that learning to work hard will help them if life gets hard, hard work will get them through.

Mary Anne Hubbell, CCGM secretary, said they are looking forward to having the market again this year and having old friends back.

“Last year, we averaged 2,000 people a weekend,” she said. “If it gets overly crowded people might want a mask.”

She said they are hoping to get the whole thing back to feeling a little more normal.

Mark Cowley uncovers picks some garlic scapes from one of his greenhouse tunnels Tuesday.

It was a little terrifying last year for us and all of our vendors,” Hubbell said. “We had to figure out how to fit all of our vendors in and keep everybody safe.”

Masks will be optional this year.

“If they can, we ask everyone to follow our basic rules,” Hubbell said. “We will know a lot after the first couple of weeks.”

The CCGM is organized by the Sustainable Agriculture Association of the Bear River Area, a 501-C organization. They are led by a board of local producers who also have booths at the market.

The Double Up Food Bucks program for people on food stamps will still be in play.

The Double Up Food Bucks program doubles the value of federal nutrition benefits (SNAP or food stamps) spent at participating markets and grocery stores. The program helps participants bring home more healthy fruits and vegetables while supporting local farmers.

Fourteen year old Anna Cowley holds a head of red lettuce Tuesday. The lettuce is one of the many types of produce that will be sold at this years Gardner’s Market.

The program is in place to help low-income consumers eat more healthy food, local farmers gain new customers and make more money, and more food dollars stay in the local economy.

 

 

 

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