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Farmers Market extends outreach with newsletter

By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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Customers of the Foothill Farmers Market will get the latest updates on what’s ripe and what’s just around the corner in a monthly e-mail newsletter starting in September. It’s the latest marketing project for association general manager Carol Arnold. “This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while,” she said. “I’m just trying to do one page — what markets are open, what markets are closed, special events, what’s in season. What we’d like to do is have farmers contribute recipes for what’s in season. We may have guest writers from the Cooperative Extension or president of the board.” Market vendors get frequent questions about what’s available and what’s coming up. So Arnold’s goal is for the newsletter to keep customers up-to-date on what to look for and what vegetables and fruits they can expect to find each week. That’s particularly important for produce that’s only available for a few weeks each season. “People get a sense of the seasonality,” she said. Response to the idea has been very positive and so far she has a compiled a list of 1,000 recipients on her e-mail list. “People are really looking forward to it and looking for new information and happy we’re going to have a new way to communicate with them,” she said. Planning is still in the development stage and reader input will have an impact as the newsletter moves forward. Currently Arnold is working on getting out the word. “We’re going to do another e-mail campaign,” she said. “We Facebook everything, so it will be on Facebook. It will reside on the Website also.” For Arnold, it is the logical next step. “We’re continuing to educate the public and expanding education efforts on eating seasonal and local food,” she said. “We’re at an educational point and using social media to keep the public informed on what’s going on.” The association operates 10 markets throughout Placer County. Three operate year-round — Rocklin and Auburn on Saturday mornings and Roseville Fountains on Tuesday. The Foresthill and Truckee Donner Pass markets will be open through the last week of August. The Kings Beach market operates through Sept. 6. Roseville’s Mahany Park ends Sept. 29. The remaining markets — Granite Bay, Truckee River Regional Park, DeWitt Center and Tahoe City close in October. Currently stone fruits are at their peak and tomatoes are close behind. “We’re about three weeks to a month late on our tomato crop,” Arnold said. Although many of the vendors are familiar faces to those who shop at the markets, there are newcomers each season. “We have a real focus on bringing in new farms,” she said. “We’re trying very hard to bring in and support new farmers in Placer and Nevada counties.” Bob Bonk, president of the Foothill Farmers Market Association, said the newsletter is something the board has been discussing over the years but has never had time to concentrate on it. “With the proliferation of smart phones and such, our customers want to know what’s going on, not necessarily on a daily basis, but generally what’s new in the market,” he said. He describes it as “just another tool in our arsenal” to make people aware of what’s going on in the market. “Our clientele stretches anywhere from young 20-somethings and teenagers, all the way up to seniors who may not necessarily use Facebook or other tools, but do use e-mail,” he said. “My 92-year old grandmother uses e-mail religiously and she likes that she gets an-email letting her know what’s going on. It’s a way to get to the population we may miss otherwise.” Reach Gloria Young at gloriay@goldcountrymedia.com. ------------ Foothill Farmers market For more information, see foothillfarmers market.com