National Farmers Market Week highlights homegrown products

The Southern Nevada Health District is reminding area residents about National Farmers Market Week, which began on Sunday.

The annual event will run through tomorrow.

Locally, the Farmers Market is organized through the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension Office’s Master Gardener program on Calvada Boulevard.

Master Gardener Cherry McCormick said between 20 and 25 vendor residents regularly take part in the program each Saturday in the Draft Picks parking lot at 1101 S. Highway 160.

“It is every Saturday morning and the summer hours right now are from 7:30 a.m. until 11 a.m.,” she said. “When it gets cold we will back off and hold them from 8 a.m. till 12 p.m. There were less vendors last Saturday because the temperatures were over 100 degrees.”

Though shoppers are free to visit the market and make purchases each Saturday, McCormick said vendors are required to pay a fee to set up shop at the site.

The fee ranges from $4 for a single parking space, to $7 for a full space equaling two parking spaces.

McCormick noted that vendors must adhere to certain rules as they do business.

“Everything they sell is locally grown and it must be prepared or made at home,” she said. “We don’t allow the resale of products that were previously purchased from a store. There are also arts and crafts on sale and everything in that category must be handmade.”

Additionally, McCormick said similar rules apply for vendors selling what’s known as “cottage foods.”

A cottage food operation shall not operate as a food service establishment, retail food store, or wholesale food manufacturer.

The regulation was introduced by Governor Brian Sandoval in 2013, and has enabled vendors to sell their own qualifying jams and jellies, fruits, and vegetables.

“Cottage food must have its own label on the jar or can and must be on a small scale,” McCormick said. “Cottage food products mean non-potentially hazardous baked goods, jams and jellies. Cottage food preparation can only take place in a kitchen that is not inspected by a governmental entity.”

McCormick noted that Pahrump’s Farmers Market has grown in size when compared to the inception of the program several years ago.

“The Farmers Market is very popular for both vendors and those who are looking to buy fresh, locally-grown fruits and produce as well as other items, including eggs, honey, and various nuts,” she said. “The Master Gardeners also have an information table at the Farmers Market every Saturday. They can help you with anything that has to do with gardening, irrigation and other things.”

For additional information on the Farmers Market and the Master Gardeners program, log on to the Pahrump Farmers Market Facebook page or call 775-727-5532 and press two for McCormick’s voicemail and leave a message.