Tomato Tasting Contest, Gift Bag Giveaways to Highlight Farmers Market

FARMINGTON – Several special attractions are planned for the August 27 edition of the Farmers Market to celebrate LocalFoodConnectsNM Month and National Farmers Market Month.

The market will feature live music from jazz band Third Hour, children’s art activities, balloon animals, a canning demonstration, food trucks and face painting, among other activities.

The event is presented by the Northwest New Mexico Growers’ Market Alliance, which includes the markets of Aztec, Bloomfield, Shiprock, Kirtland and Farmington.

It is used to raise awareness of the Double Up Food Bucks program, which provides SNAP recipients with dollar-for-dollar consideration to purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables. Aaron Greenwood, who took over as new market director in June, said the market typically attracts a significant number of SNAP customers each week.

“We do, and it’s definitely something that I wish our community knew more about,” she said. “It’s something I’ve been advocating since taking this job. We typically have thousands of dollars in SNAP Money spent every Saturday.”

The event will also feature giveaway bags every 30 minutes during the market, with a grand prize giveaway bag being awarded at the end of the day. Greenwood said the giveaway bags will include $100 in market tokens that can be used like cash, while the grand prize giveaway bag will offer a custom-made cutting board created by a market vendor.

A highlight of the day’s activities will be a tomato tasting contest taking place at 9:30 a.m. A panel of five judges will taste heirloom tomatoes grown by market vendors and vote for a winner.

Greenwood said the seller with the winning entry will receive a reward.

“Farmers are very humble people, and they don’t need an award for something like that,” she said. “It’s just for bragging rights. That’s basically how farmers operate.”

Greenwood said she has worked hard to promote the market on social media since taking office this summer, and she has seen those efforts pay off with increased footfall. Crowds that had been around 500 are now approaching 3,000 on Saturday, she said, and she is hoping for an even bigger turnout this weekend.

“I think we could have 5,000 people,” she said.

The market is held in the Farmington Museum parking lot at Gateway Park, 3041 E. Main St. It runs from 8:00 a.m. to noon. Call 505-334-9496 for more information.

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