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By Micah Drew

Seeley Farmers' Market Begins Ninth Summer at Littlebird's Lawn


Micah Drew, Pathfinder

Customers purchase vegetables from Johnson's Homegrown stand at the first farmer's market of the summer. Johnson's Homegrown run by Jesse and Chuad Johnson, has sold vegetables at the Seeley Lake for all nine years.

SEELEY LAKE- Warm weather means it's time to head outside and shop local vendors every Sunday. The Seeley Lake Farmers' and Crafters' Market opened for its ninth season on a sunny morning June 11.

Located at Littlebird's Lawn on Larch Lane from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., the market features about 25 vendors each week.

"Happy first market of season number nine everybody," exclaimed an excited Vicky Voegelin who has organized the market since its conception almost a decade ago. "It's a great opening day!"

Throughout the morning and early afternoon people wandered between dozens of canopies chatting with vendors about their wares. A few local farmers had traditional vegetable stands, but products ranged from golden colored beets to blue and white checkered quilts, from hand crafted jewelry to candied almonds and walnuts.

According to the Montana Department of Agriculture, there are more than 70 farmers' markets in Montana. The department estimated revenue from the markets to be around $1.8 million in 2013.

Voegelin says that the majority of the vendors are local-from the Seeley, Condon or Potomac areas. The only rules in place for vendors is that any crafts sold must be hand made. Voegelin is also looking to expand the market to include nonprofit booths, where charities can sell baked goods or other food for fundraisers.

Micah Drew, Pathfinder

Shoppers turned out in numbers to peruse vendors at the Seeley Lake farmers market.

Many of the vendors participate in multiple markets in each week. Christine and Steve Noland are a husband and wife team of jewelry designers from Anaconda that have been vendors at the Seeley market for the last four years. They set up booths at the Big Sky and Helena markets as well but this is their favorite venue.

"All the people who come are so relaxed, not in a hurry to go," said Christine. "They take time and enjoy it."

The Nolans also have the distinction of sharing a booth with the market's youngest vendor-their six-year-old Sam-who sells painted cards and bookmarks. The Nolans say that it was inevitable for him to be his own vendor one day- his first time at a market came when he was six weeks old.

Voegelin cites the Seeley Lake community as the reason the market has been so successful.

"Without the shoppers the vendors don't come and we wouldn't have the market," she said. "Vendors come back every year because they love the people from Seeley Lake."

The market will run every Sunday until Labor Day weekend.


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