Farmers Market delayed until next year

Jerry Purvis/Gering Courier As work continues on the Gering Civic Plaza, the canopy over the north end awaits summer 2020 when its stalls will be filled with vendors for the Gering Farmers Market.

GERING — With construction ongoing at the Gering Civic Plaza, farmers market vendors have decided to wait until the summer of 2020 to roll out their weekly event.

Amenities like the public restrooms building and terraced seating areas at the stage area are nearing completion as the city faces an Aug. 31 deadline to finish the work. So in order to take full advantage of the public space, Farmers Market vendors decided to wait a year.

Since last spring, Karla Niedan-Streeks, executive director of the Gering Visitors Bureau, has been meeting with vendors to develop a plan that creates a space for vendors to sell their products while gathering residents and visitors into Gering’s downtown area.

“We’ve discussed what types of products consumers wanted and what was available from vendors in the area,” she said. “We talked about hours of operation and what kinds of events and activities could accompany a farmers market to make it successful.”

One idea the vendors supported was interactive activities for children, like planting your own seeds or learning how to preserve pickles.

“”We want to actively engage the kids who come to the farmers market with their parents,” Niedan-Streeks said. “While having fun they can also learn where produce comes from and what it takes to grow before it ends up on your table.”

The marketing plan for the farmers market is almost complete, so it will be ready to implement next summer to appeal to both vendor and consumer interests.

“We had a real diversity of vendors at all our meetings,” Niedan-Streeks said. “Some of them were new and others, like Rod and Tina Allred, have been participating in farmers markets around the region for years. They were able to add a great deal of input and guidance for the plan’s development.”

Another vendor that generated lots of interest specializes in growing herbs of all kinds. Niedan-Streeks said the vendor shared practical information on how a niche product can add to the overall productivity and success of a farmers market.

“The overall goal of the meetings is to develop a plan that vendors will want to be a part of,” she said. “It will be a plan that meets the needs of both vendors and consumers. We keep asking if we’re providing the types of products consumers want week after week and year after year. We believe we’ve come up with that plan.”

Tentatively, the Gering Farmers Market will run from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on Thursdays. Any changes and start dates will be announced later. The location is the north end of the plaza in downtown Gering.

“Gering’s downtown Civic Plaza will be unlike any other in the state,” Niedan-Streeks said. “The new Gering Farmers Market starting in the summer of 2020 will be a primary reason the Plaza is a beloved destination for locals and visitors year-round.”

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Jerry Purvis is a reporter with the Star-Herald. He can be reached at 308-632-9046 or emailed at jpurvis@starherald.com.

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