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Great Falls Farmers' Market kicks off summer season

Posted at 6:01 PM, Jun 01, 2024

GREAT FALLS — On Saturday a tradition spanning more than 40 years resumed, as scores of vendors gathered outside the Civic Center for the Great Falls Farmers Market - the first one of the 2024 season.

The Great Falls Farmers Market is a staple of summer tradition. With fresh fruit, vegetables, and meat from around the state, along with a variety of crafts and other handmade goods, it is hard to arrive at the market and not find something completely unique.

“I am the only craft bean-to-bar chocolate manufacturer in the entire state to my knowledge,” said Ian Karle, owner of Joy Chocolates.

The market has been a staple since 1982 and is a huge place of business for vendors like Karle, who comes all the way from Cut Bank to sell his products.

“This is a great market,” Karle said, “When you're trying to start a business, everything is relatively based on sales. Cut Bank is a very small town. This is the closest large market that I can actually, you know, sell my stuff at.”

With each vendor comes a story of passion, like Cecil Walborn, who has been a woodworker all his life.

“I grew up on the farm. We had apple crates,” Walborn explained, “I took them, tore the apple crates apart... and built my own toys to play with.”

Farmers Markets also grant you unique industry information you will not find on a grocery store label.

“I shoot for ten microns for the [chocolate’s] smoothness,” Karle explained. “So my chocolate is actually abnormally smooth for the industry standard.”

Buying and selling at the local level helps the vendors put money back into their craft, allowing them to come back and continue to cultivate personal relationships year after year.

“[It] lets me reinvest it in more wood, more tools, see more people,” Walborn said.

Whether you are looking for fresh produce, good company, or even a pony ride, you can find it at the Great Falls Farmers Market.

The farmers market will be every Saturday from June 1st through to the last Saturday of September. They run from 8:30am to 1pm outside the Civic Center, along Park Drive South, and Whittier Park.

For more information, click here to visit the Farmers’ Market website.