Below are highlights from our article in the April 2018 edition of Questa’s Del Rio Colorado News – a monthly paper. Let’s get ready for the 2018 market season!
Double-up-food-bucks at the Questa Farmers Market
& Call to Vendors and Musicians
QUESTA FARMERS MARKET
Near Intersection of Hwy 38 and Hwy 522
Questa Visitor Center / QEDF Parking Area
Sundays, 10 am to 2 pm, June 3 – October 14, 2018
Our focus is to grow a locally strong economy, so we ask vendors to obtain as many local ingredients as possible and to make prepared foods from start to finish. This means a customer will find handmade tortillas and tamales at our market, as well as other handmade goods.
In the spring of 2017 we registered with the USDA and obtained an EBT machine and registered with the State to accept WIC and Senior Nutrition Program checks. This season we will be participating in the double-up-food-bucks program, too! Your market manager and collaborators attended a mandatory training in Santa Fe at the NM Farmers Marketing Association’s 20th Annual Conference and now, after one season under our belts and this training, our market will participate in the double-up-food-bucks program (funded by a federal grant and associated with SNAP/EBT).
The double-up-food-bucks program makes someone’s dollars worth double if they buy local; New Mexico grown, within 80 miles of market. Eligible foods are fruits and vegetables, or fresh herbs that are cut, dried pintos, dried chile pods (not in ristra form) and garden food plant starts. We were not able to participate in this excellent program last year, as it was our first as a regulated/authorized market. But we’ve passed the grade and this year we will make more fresh food available.
This program is important – it encourages farmers to sell at the QFM and be paid better, and provides incentives for eating more healthful foods. It also helps other vendors because the same shoppers may have more cash to purchase a slice of pie or frito pie, since they have used double-up-food-bucks on veggies and fruit!
What does it take to participate in the Questa Farmers Market?
First, energy and ingenuity! When you join as a vendor you’re joining the farmers market community and adding your effort to our central goals: to support local food production and particularly small-scale agricultural projects, and local entrepreneurs.
• The market requires a small vendors fee – only $5 per Sunday.
• The Village of Questa requires a peddlers permit if you sell processed foods and crafts. It is $35 and is good for three months, contact (575) 586-0694.
• Prepared food vendors (bakers, jelly makers, sellers of take-away and hot food items) must abide by the food safety laws of NM. You will need a permit to operate. It is $25 per month obtained in Taos. Call the New Mexico Environment Department in Taos at (575) 758-8808 or visit https://www.env.nm.gov/nav_permits.html for permit information. You will likely need to use a commercial kitchen to prepare your foods.
• Farmers & Growers: to accept WIC checks and Senior Nutrition Program checks you will need to complete an agreement with the New Mexico Department of Health. See your market manager for the form, contact info below.
• Younger farmers, makers, and growers, if you’re under 18 the QFM will wave the $5 vendors fee. Please join us, and here’s an idea – food plant starts, like tomatoes and basil, are good sellers and they are double-up $ eligible.
Please note, the “sale of vegetables, fruits, meats, foul or farm products raised and sold in an unprocessed state” can be done without a peddlers permit (Per Village of Questa Ordinance 2005-122).
For more information about how to participate as a vendor – go to our website https://questafarmersmarket.org/for-vendors/
Flea Market? We’ve been asked many Sundays, why don’t you have a flea market too? First, we need to maintain a 50% or higher proportion of “food staples” for sale. Vegetables, fruits, meats, or farm products fit into the essential category, as do other basic take-home food items, like bread, tortillas, flour, pies, beans, chicos, and herbs.
BUT a flea market could co-exist as long as it was sufficiently marketed as a separate entity, maybe at a little distance from the QFM. However, this sort of market also needs organization. So, if you love the idea of a flea market and have the drive to organize the effort, please do and contact the QFM manager, Gaea, with ideas about how to share space and advertising dollars. We have some relevant experience.
A letter from ~
your market manager, Gaea, & entrepreneurs/collaborators, Wendy & Alex