Residents and vendors breathed a collective sigh of relief when they showed up Sunday morning two weeks ago.
New awnings were put in by the Ahwatukee Community Swim and Tennis Center where more than 50 vendors sell their goods every Sunday morning. In the hot summer months there are fewer shoppers to the Ahwatukee Farmers Market so vendors and organizers hope that the new awnings built will block out the sun and attract more people to the market.
“We were really surprised and grateful just because business dies down during the summer,” said Alli Shepler, employee for the Ahwatukee Farmers Market.
When the market started out years ago it started out as a seasonal event. But requests and interest from residents kept the season open longer and longer until organizers decided to turn it into a 12-month event.
During the peak months they expect to see about 80 vendors from all over the Phoenix area. At the most recent market this past Sunday, there were fewer than 60.
“They really come out and support (the farmers market),” said Samantha Halverson, Ahwatukee Market Coordinator. “The residents of Ahwatukee asked us to be here year-round.”
The partnership between the Ahwatukee Community Swim and Tennis Center has been a positive one over the years and Halverson expects it to continue to grow. She said they are currently working on a community garden that sits near the baseball diamonds, and when it is up and running and producing, they will provide a space in the farmers market to sell what is grown.
Vendors appreciate being able to sell their goods in an open setting, where they have direct connection with their customers, and the farmers market in return gives those customers the opportunity to find out where their product comes from. The Ahwatukee Farmers Market offers a variety of locally-grown produce, wild-caught salmon, crafts, homemade salsa and dairy products from a local farm.
“It’s the farm to the fork, that instant connection between us and the customer,” said Casey Stechnij, owner of Superstition Farm. “Everyone here has a story to tell.”
The Ahwatukee Farmers Market operates every Sunday morning from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Ahwatukee Community Swim and Tennis Center parking lot, 4700 E. Warner Road, behind Nello’s Pizza.
To find out more, visit their website, www.arizonafarmersmarkets.com/pageAhwatukee/ahwatukee.htm.
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