On January 26th, a Saturday, we went to the Port Washington Farmers Market to shoot some video. The winter market is held indoors until spring, at the First Congregational Church. It drew quite a crowd. Our friend Pat Wilborn created the event three years ago, along with his wife, Amy, and it’s now showing signs of success. Pat said that day was the best one so far.
It helps that Amy, a classically trained musician, isn’t above sitting in with a local band for some down home country fiddling. She books the talent for the event—two groups on this Saturday—and judging from our interviews with the musicians they love playing at the winter market.
The vendors seem to love being there, too, and of course, the shoppers with backpacks and cloth shopping bags stuffed with locally grown or crafted goodies. I ate a delicious smoked beef sandwich served up by MMB Barbeque, operated by two sisters who are eternally grateful that their mother taught them how to cook. I bumped into a young woman, Kylie, who had been in one of my speech classes four years before. She does photography for the market.
The two things that Pat Wilborn talks about more than anything are local food and community. Local food and community go beyond words with Pat. The Winter Market grew out of his desire to grow food himself. He’s creating an aquaponics setup out on the edge of town to raise fish and fresh produce in a 90-foot-long greenhouse. He envisions a time when farmers in the area will grow local food in hoop houses in winter, providing a year-round supply of fresh food for everybody. I’m sure he envisions a world like that beyond Port Washington, too.
We interviewed quite a few people that day, older people, younger people, people alone, and people with friends, people selling meats, people selling candles, and home-grown herbal tea, and soaps and lotions, and veggies, and one fellow who was selling picture frames, eggs, winter squash, and barn boards. And more.
When we interviewed the customers who would talk on camera they were unanimous in their appreciation of the Winter Farmers’ Market. The value of organically-grown food was mentioned, and the music, and the friendliness of the people, and just having somewhere to go to be around others on a cold winter day.
The word most often used to describe the experience? Community. Everyone seemed to feel it. Local Food and Community. Wouldn’t it be nice if everybody thought like Pat and Amy Wilborn, and the participants at the Winter Farmers’ Market.