Coming up Saturday the Pace area will be home to a new farmer's market. Last fall farmers approached Santa Rosa County Extension's commercial horticulture agent, Blake Baxton, to talk about the possibility of starting a farmer's market in Santa Rosa County.
They formed the Santa Rosa Farmer's Market Association, spoke with county officials and are renting space from the county at the PARA football complex on Limbaugh Rd. in Pace. The vision becomes a reality this Saturday when farmers will start selling direct to consumers in Santa Rosa county.
According to Blake Thaxton, the 22 farmers and producers in the association wanted the market set up to be "relaxed like a true old fashioned farmer's market." The farmers don't have to commit to being there far in advance and can sell right out of the back of a pickup if they want.
As farmers in Santa Rosa engaged with customers from Santa Rosa over the past few years they wondered if they ought to be selling in a market directly to their neighbors and the response so far to the announcement of the Santa Rosa Farmer's Market has been very positive.
In addition to selling it was important to the farmer's association to connect consumers with the agricultural community and, in the future, they want to educate the public through outreach from programs like 4-H and Future Farmers of America.
Farmers will be selling fresh produce, fruits & vegetables, animal products like milk & cheese, as well as cottage foods such as breads and pastries. For the inaugural week, at least, they will have a pizza oven company baking fresh prepared food on site.
The plan right now is to be a year-round market every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the PARA football complex.