A new farmers market is planned for Eolia that will have four trial dates this year to gauge its viability and potential.
The Wind Ridge Farmers Market will be in the open lot next to Scotty’s Market at Hwy. 61 and Hwy. D in the southern Pike County town. The first market will be from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 30.
The market will open with the help of the people who run the River Hills Farmers Market in Silex, which has been successful for the past 23 years.
Kelly Klober is one of those people and he outlined the plans for the Eolia market at a public meeting at the Eolia Community Building. In attendance were various farmers, gardeners and crafts makers from the area.
“If this is going to a success, it has to look busy from the get go,” Klober said. “If there’s just two or three booths, people won’t stop.”
Those interested can make money, but they shouldn’t expect to sell $10 per pound pork steaks or get rich quick, Klober said.
“We’re not going to get Soulard prices,” Klober said. On the other hand, someone who sells one dozen eggs for $1 “kills the market for everybody else and yourself.
“It’s not all glory, it’s a lot of work but some in Silex go home with $1,000 on a Saturday,” Klober said.
That’s because Silex has a reputation for quality and sells things above and beyond most farmers markets, like fence posts, hay, straw and specialized livestock, Klober said.
People come from as far away as Alabama and Texas to buy the things they can’t find elsewhere, he added.
While people come to Silex to find things they can’t find elsewhere like the specialized livestock, most market sellers should keep it simple because the bulk of their customers will be local, Klober said.
Exotic heirloom tomatoes might look good in a slick magazine, but they don’t have a high yield or potential for northeastern Missouri buyers, he said.
If sellers do have tomatoes, they should look for varieties that are red that can be cut into slices that fit nicely on top of a hamburger.
“You can make 97 kinds of bread, but most people want white,” he said. “You’re rural.”
Sellers should also expect to educate the public about their wares, Klober said. City residents will not know what certain terms mean and will be glad to learn.
There are guidelines to farmers markets in Missouri and the rules must be followed, Klober said. While the guidelines and regulations may seem daunting or unfair, they will also protect sellers from liability, he said.
The Wind Ridge Farmers Market will soon be registered in Pike County.
The three other markets will be held from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays two months apart. Those days are May 25, July 27 and Sept. 28.
Those interested should call Klober at 636-696-3447 or Dale Davis at 573-324-5354.