BISBEE — It was the perfect day to celebrate the opening of the new Bisbee Saturday Market at Vista Park — a hint of fall’s cool air, sunshine, shade trees — and folks masked and unmasked flocked to Warren to check out the vendors, enjoy the music and see old friends.
The goal of the market is to have a positive, inclusive, fun market and promote farmers, ranchers, cooks, bakers, artisans, artists, crafters, wellness providers and entrepreneurs.
Tracey Taylor, market manager, was busy making room for two boxes of tomatoes on the table featuring the produce of backyard growers who have extra fruits and veggies to sell. The producer picks their veggies and fruits and sets the prices and the market and the grower share the proceeds 50–50.
The idea grew as she watched volunteer pumpkin plants grow and wondered what she was going to do with them. She also heard from other market managers how beneficial it was to have a gardener’s table.
She said of the first day, “So far, so good. I hope it will continue to get bigger. It’s been really well received by the community and we’re getting a lot of positive feedback.”
City Manager Steve Pauken said, “I’m glad to see the market here. There hasn’t been one for a while. I have always known that people who particularly live in Warren really have a value in the farmers market. And it’s just not to buy vegetables and meats, it’s a gathering place. It’s a tradition now. Unfortunately, when the other market left, it left a void in the community. And, now, we’re back. I hope the new market prospers. I hope the original market prospers. And. I hope people go to both of them every Saturday.”
The original Bisbee Farmers Market moved to a location on Naco Highway outside city limits when a deal with the city concerning permit fees and recouping city costs of power, water and garbage pickup could not be reached. Laura Smith, organizer of the BFM, found a new home at La Ramada Steakhouse and Cantina in the gravel parking lot.
Pauken asked Smith if she wanted to return to Vista Park, but she did not follow up with the city.
Many were concerned the new BSM would impact the BFM as vendors might rather return to Vista Park’s more customer friendly location.
Pauken compared the two farmers markets to the opening of the Ace Hardware Store, which worried residents it would have a negative impact on the existing hardware store, B&D Lumber & Hardware. Both businesses are doing well and the worry was for naught.
“I believe the same thing can happen here,” he added.
Fred Miller, BSM organizer, said, “I’m very pleased with the turnout. We have 30 vendors signed up. There were a couple who couldn’t make it today, but will be here next week. A lot of people have been very supportive of us. This is more than we expected.”
Miller also praised the city park crew for the “wonderful” cleanup of Vista Park.
There were 30 vendors who signed up, many of whom who were glad to be back at Vista Park, like Flavie Audoin from France, who is working on her PhD while working at 47 Ranch run by Debbie and Dennis Moroney. They developed the brand Sky Island and feature grass-fed meat at the Sierra Vista farmers market in addition to the one in Bisbee.
The Moroneys decided to make the move from the farmers market on Naco Highway to the new market in Vista Park mostly due to their customers concerns, Audoin said.
“They didn’t like it there,” she said.
Customers complained of the lack of shade, the heat, the dust and the gravel which made walking difficult.
Mimi Joyal was busy talking to customers who were interested in her handmade stuffed bunnies, mice and rabbits, one-of-a-kind pin cushions and handbags made with fabrics she “scrounges” up. It started out a hobby, something to keep her busy during last year’s lockdown, and now has become a small business.
She and her husband, George, are glad to be at the BSM in Vista park.
Arizona Soap Company isowned by Tucson’s Julee Davis, who was happy to be at the BSM to sell her made-from-scratch soaps, lotions and essential oils.
She learned to make soap from her grandmother and it set her on a path to make her own. One of her lotions is called Peach Jubilee and has a wonderful, subtle scent, like all her products.
“You buy some soaps and the fragrance is overpowering, “ she said. “You smell it all day. I prefer the lighter fragrances.”
Music by Becky Reyes and Scott Muhleman added to the festive morning. Miller said there would be live entertainment every Saturday.
Miller announced, “The market is in the process of applying to be able to accept Snap, WIC and Sr Coupons, an arduous process that the team feels is an absolute must for both the vendors and shoppers alike. The process takes time and the more produce and farms that become vendors, the happier the decision makers are when reviewing the application.”
Carrie Gustavson, executive director of the Bisbee Mining and Historical Museum, and former city councilwoman Joan Hansen were impressed with opening day and the number of people who came to the market.
Hansen said, “It’s a great turnout for the first week. This is such a nice venue.”
For information on the BSM and to register as a vendor, visit the website at https://bisbeesaturdaymarket.com/.