Tahlequah helps the community one veggie buck at a time
TNE Editor
/ Categories: Health, Feature, Local

Tahlequah helps the community one veggie buck at a time

Published 8/24/16

Lauren Redden

TNE Writer

The Tahlequah Farmers’ Market takes place seasonally downtown at Norris Park. It is a nonprofit organization that focuses on helping facilitate the sale of products by vendors. Tahlequah Farmers’ Market was created nine years ago and now has a total of 36 vendors who participate.

“We have about 17 vendors that set up each week,” said Marla Saeger, Tahlequah Farmers’ Market president. “We are now averaging anywhere from $4,000-$6,000 each time. The support from the community has been outstanding.”

Tahlequah Farmers’ Market has partnered with seven other farmers’ markets to better serve the surrounding cities. The Cherokee County Commission Health Coalition began a Double Up program four years ago for people who receive food stamps. They can exchange a certain amount of their food stamps for what is called veggie bucks. They can receive $20 worth of veggie bucks every week to go toward vegetables and fruits at the farmers’ markets.

“The veggie bucks are not limited to one certain group, anyone can buy them,” said Saeger. “NEO Health System recently purchased $500 in veggie bucks for their employees. We think that is just wonderful, and we want to encourage other businesses to do the same.”

The Tahlequah Farmers’ Market has a wide variety of products that are not just for eating. Everything from jewelry to body care and household items is sold at the farmers’ market.

“Besides the produce, I love the different lotions they sell,” said Kourtney Howard, Tahlequah shopper. “They do not contain any harsh chemicals and leave my hands feeling so soft. Definitely the best lotion I have ever used.”

Local musicians perform at the farmers’ market, as well. Some play guitar, others play the harp and some play a little bit of everything. These musicians contribute to the success of the farmers’ market.

“Mike Allen, who works with my dad at NSU, first asked me to perform at the farmers’ market two years ago,” said Haley Stocks, Tahlequah musician. “I think the music really enhances the experience for the shoppers. I always say music is played best with friends so I enjoy performing with some of my music buddies such as Mark Sweeney, Chris Espinoza and Micheal Rappe.”

Promoting health, independence and support for the community is what the Tahlequah Farmers’ Market is all about.  It has proven to be more successful each year. The shoppers, performers and vendors contribute to this success.

“Everyone at the farmers’ market has become like family to me,” said Saeger. “It is my trust in the future and a source of revitalization every week. I hope more and more people become involved in this great organization.”

The Tahlequah Farmers’ Market is open 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays on the corner of Muskogee Avenue and Morgan Street.

For more information about the Tahlequah Farmers’ Market, call Saeger at 918-207-7671.

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