The Ketchum City Council on Monday turned down a proposal from Mayor Neil Bradshaw to create a city-run farmers’ market that would operate on Saturdays at Forest Service Park.
The Wood River Farmers’ Market, which had been in downtown Ketchum for years, is moving to the River Run base of Bald Mountain and will open for business June 11. The market will be open Tuesdays from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. until Oct. 8.
Bradshaw proposed a new market that would be managed and facilitated by the city government, and would operate on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. It would have started July 6 and run through Aug. 10.
After the Wood River Farmers’ Market announced the move to River Run in March, several vendors approached Bradshaw and city staff about starting the Saturday market, according to city staff.
Some wanted to set up shop at the Wood River Farmers’ Market and the Saturday market, according to the staff report. The city had nine vendors committed to the Saturday market: Squash Blossom Farm, Elkhorn Ranch South, Lookout Farm, Silver Spring Ranch, Ginger Sweet, Piedaho, Redwood Fairy Ferments, Itty Bitty Farms, and Roadbars.
Roadbars owner Christina Giordani told the City Council that the new date and time would offer flexibility for vendors and attract business from tourists driving through Ketchum to Redfish Lake and the Sawtooth Valley on summer weekends.
“A lot of up-and-coming farmers work full-time jobs,” Giordani said. “If they can sell their product on a Tuesday and a Saturday, that would be very beneficial to them.”
Katie Zubia, president of the Wood River Farmers’ Market board, said in her personal opinion the city had been dishonest in its dealings with the market board, and she was angered by Bradshaw’s proposal.
“This new market has been started out of anger,” Zubia said. “I’m greatly angered. I don’t see this separate market as a benefit. I see it as an insult.”
Bradshaw said he took some responsibility for the divide that has been created between the city and the farmers’ market board.
“I don’t see these competing at all,” Bradshaw said of his proposal. “I want to see some healing between the city and some vendors.”
Hailey resident Colleen Teevin, who started a business in Ketchum called Cloverstone Bakery, questioned why the city was so willing to devote staff time to managing and facilitating a new market when the Wood River Farmers’ Market had to get up and running without that government assistance.
“I had to start my business without the city of Ketchum,” Teevin said. “Everybody is in support of local producers providing more local food. I don’t think (the Saturday market) makes any business sense. It’s going to cost you staff time.”
City spokeswoman Lisa Enourato said the city recently hired a new employee to manage events, Julian Tyo, who would have the time necessary to run the Saturday market. She said the events calendar in Ketchum has been stable this year and doesn’t expect new events to start up that would take up staff time.
City council members said they liked the idea of a Saturday market, but didn’t support the city managing it.
“It just feels like we’re playing favorites,” Councilwoman Amanda Breen said.
The Wood River Farmers Market and the vendors in support of the Saturday market agreed to collaborate and work out their disagreements.
In a news release, Zubia said she is excited about the possibilities offered in the River Run location, which dovetails with the summer tourism season at Sun Valley Resort.
The first day of the farmers’ market on June 11 will feature vendors selling produce, meats, cheeses, desserts, crafts, jewelry and live music, according to the news release.
Opening day will include a raffle boasting local producers’ goods, face painting for kids and other activities.
Customers can get to the new location via the bike path, or by driving and parking in the resort’s parking lot. The market will also have a shuttle between the Limelight Hotel and River Run.
“We hope to see everyone, established and new customers alike, at our new River Run location,” Zubia said. “We need your help to keep this beloved tradition strong and growing. Please come support your farmers, artisans, musicians and community this summer.”