Experience the sights, tastes and sounds of rural Idaho at the Nampa Farmers’ Market

June 24, 2016

As a new Nampa Farmers’ Market vendor, Anna Lee, class of 2004, chatted with market manager and NNU alumnus David Zink about the benefits of the market to the local community.

The laughter of children skipping through rows of tents. The kaleidoscope colors of homemade jam and jelly jars neatly arranged on long tables. The wafting scents of freshly baked breads and breakfast burritos. The hiss of an espresso maker as teens from a local youth group serve up coffee drinks. The earthy scent of just-picked produce stacked high. The perfume of hand-crafted soaps, lotions and scrubs. These are the sights and sounds of the Nampa Farmers’ Market.

This 28 year institution of Nampa’s downtown is located only five minutes from NNU’s campus. Running from the last Saturday in April until the last Saturday in October, the Market is readily available to students seeking to enjoy the local color of their college town. Boasting an average of 40 farm and artisan vendors each week, there is literally something for everyone on Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

All around, people are meeting friends, sampling local products, supplying healthy hobbies and learning about all that rural Idaho has to offer.
I am a first-time vendor this year and am learning first-hand about all that’s available in downtown Nampa each weekend. Even while busy with my business partner offering up our handmade lavender body products, I have witnessed the community that the Farmers’ Market promotes. All around and in my booth, people are meeting friends, sampling local products, supplying healthy hobbies and learning about all that rural Idaho has to offer.

David Zink, a 1997 alumnus of NNU, shared with me how he became the Nampa Farmers’ Market manager, “I first became involved with the market as a vendor in 2008 selling various vegetables. For the next seven years, our hobby-sized business provided our kids an opportunity to earn some spending money, vegetables for our own consumption, and money for family activities. During the last two years as a vendor, I was also the vice president of the board of directors for the market. For the 2015 and now 2016 season, I have taken on the role of market manager.”

Zink shares that the Market contributes much to the Nampa community particularly helping Nampa build a vibrant downtown. “The market brings many people to the downtown area on a consistent basis. Many of those same people discover, and then shop at the brick-and-mortar stores.”

Like me, Zink has a day job. He puts his engineering physics degree to work at Boise Cascade Company while working with the Market on the side. Most of us vendors enjoy the lifestyle supported by working at a farmers’ market—growing and making things by hand and sharing them while enjoying the lovely Idaho spring, summer and fall weather—as much as we do the extra income. Zink says, “Each week at the market we see regular customers, first-time customers, friends reuniting, friends sharing a weekly ritual, kids seeing new things, parents getting their favorite product, etc., etc., etc. It is quite fulfilling to be part of turning an empty, barren parking lot into a weekly oasis of music, crafts and food where people come to enjoy part of their week.”

Why not come check us out yourself? People watch, sip an iced latte, buy some fresh produce and see what makes downtown Nampa a great weekend destination for community members and college students of all ages.

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