Cast Member Spotlight: Farmers Market of the Ozarks
Farmers Market of the Ozarks
Hello and welcome back to the Cast Blog—we’re excited to have you! This month, we’re taking a look at Farmers Market of the Ozarks. You’ve probably seen Executive Director Karissa Kary and Market Manager Jesse Stone running around on-site at the market on Saturdays. On weekdays, though, you’ll find them at Cast Co+Work+Space, speaking with farmers and coordinating the magic that is Farmers Market of the Ozarks.
You already know FMO is the area’s premier source for fresh, local food, thoughtfully produced by our neighbors. However, it’s much more than that. FMO is a hub for our community. It’s where we gather to enjoy the skills and trades of our farmers, artisans, and artists next door. It’s where our children play and make memories made vivid by the sights, sounds, and smells of the market bustling around them. Even with all the action going on at the market, FMO’s purpose has been—and always will be—connecting farmers and people. Stone describes it as “a place where all walks of life come together to engage and interact with local-sourced, sustainable goods.”
FMO is ever-evolving but always focused on its core mission: to promote healthy food and lifestyles to area residents and to support our local farmers. By creating a consistent place to offer their food along with providing resources for their growing businesses, the market has become an invaluable source of support for many area farmers. In turn, these farms supply the community with fresh, sustainably grown food. While these farms are small compared to corporate farms, they’re highly involved with trends in food production.
“We as a market are very good at being an incubator,” Kary says. “A lot of our vendors are good at taking where we are with agriculture and creating new access points for the community.”
This excitement and dedication has helped FMO consistently earn its place among the country’s top 10 farmers markets. Being a year-round outdoor market has likewise aided in the prestigious rankings. Thanks to greenhouse and hydroponic farming, you can still find locally produced vegetables during the cold Ozarks winters. You can also find several canned items and microgreens while you shop in the covered pavilion during those months. This helps provide farmers with a year-round revenue source and gives us the chance to eat yummy local food during any season!
Now, as temperatures are warming up, FMO will be hosting a few new events as well as a program designed to recognize those whose job it is to help our community. For its Tokens of Appreciation program, the market is hosting a designated line of work each month and giving away prizes. Librarians, nurses, and sanitation workers are among those who will be given their due over the next few months.
You’ll also want to mark May 4 and May 25 on your calendar. On May 4, get ready for Cinco de Mayo with Quatro de Mayo! Everything Kitchens Chef Austin will guide you on how to prepare your salsa for the festive day. On May 25, come celebrate everything caffeine with the Jitter Jam—a festival of coffee, tea, and breakfast samplings. You can register for both events here, and you’ll receive $10 in Market Money when you check in at the market hub.
FMO has become a fixture in our community and with your Cast companions Karissa and Jesse leading the way, and it’s still growing. Whether you’re enjoying a spring day at the market or just getting some work done at Cast, make sure and say hi to these market mavens. You may even catch them in their vegetable costumes!
FARMERS MARKET OF THE OZARKS VALUES
Sustainability – Our market focuses on social, ecological, and economic sustainability.
Excellence – Through combining innovation and business, we create a beautiful, functional, and exciting farmers market for the community.
Fostering Relationships – We strive to promote positive connections between local producers and the community members who support them.
Nourishment – Local food is at the heart of the market and community; therefore, we strive to provide access to fresh and nutritious food throughout the region.
Education – Our market believes it’s our duty to educate the community about the value of locally produced products.
BY SEAMUS MCKENZIE
04 • 18 • 2019