Homer Alaska - Business

Story last updated at 3:34 PM on Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Farmers' Market

Local economy thriving, judging by these sales

Summer is officially in full swing. Wednesday markets have started down on Ocean Drive and the Saturday market is loaded with all kinds of greens, onions, garlic, radishes, turnips and beets, as well as herbs and starts. The first strawberries even snuck into the market last Saturday.

While the national news on the economy always sounds bleak, it seems to be booming at the local level. The vegetables disappear just as fast as wildfire spreads because they are amazingly good, high quality and freshly nutritious.

This success is not driven by hype, flashy advertising or Wall Street numbers. Food is simply better when it's fresh. That fad will never end.

The market as a whole reflects the strengths of our local economy. When you look at the different facets, you can see that it is quite a gem.

We are a fishing community. With the stunning tides this week you can go clamming or maybe you are getting geared up for dipnetting instead. Seafood is one of the joys of living here and so, of course, the market keeps grounded with all the diversity at the Seafoods of Alaska booth as well as the fresh oysters from Sunset Cove Oyster Farm.

The market is a training ground for new businesses.

It's been a joy watching the new Bagel Shop struggle to keep up with demand this year. They now know they can sell more than 100 bagels an hour and need bigger kitchen facilities. What a great thing to learn before investing too much.

There is no age limit in community participation. Last Saturday's market was "Kids Vending Day" and young entrepreneurs in the Kids' Activities area tested out their skills creating, selling and profiting.

The economy isn't just about the bottom line. It's also about creating a strong social structure for a community.

Whether it's the locally made pottery or jewelry, fresh food or live music, the market is full of reminders that we have a vibrant and diverse local economy.

Get some market tokens, share them with others and see it all happen on Saturdays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and Wednesdays from 3-6 p.m.

Kyra Wagner is director of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers' Market's biggest fan.