Capital City Farmer’s Market cultivates a warm and inviting community for Boise vendors and customers

Taya Thornton | The Arbiter

Nestled within The Grove in downtown Boise, every Saturday, April 15, through December 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Capital City Public Market provides the citizens of Boise with one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces, delicious drinks and snacks, and a warm sense of community that only an event like this can. 

Putting on an event like this isn’t for the faint of heart. The Market’s director, Janel Miles, highlighted just how much effort goes into an event like this. “Our number one qualification is that it has to be Idaho-produced. So every vendor here creates and crafts their own products and nothing is resold,” Miles said. 

Although Capital City Farmer’s Market officially started in 1994, the practice of selling wares amongst Boise citizens predates that. Miles shared that in the 70’s and 80’s vendors would gather on Franklin St and Curtis St to sell to one another out of the trunks of their cars.

Two long-time vendors who have been with the Market from the very beginning, Cindy and Mark McClaskey,  really put that history into context. 

“In the early days we cut flowers, and that’s all we sold,” Mark McClaskey said. “Then we started evolving into other things…making jam and selling succulents, but we’ve been here since the beginning.”

Cindy McClaskey discussed what a sense of community within a market environment means to her.

“We have repeat customers,” Cindy McClaskey said. “They shop and eat at different areas in the downtown area and come and visit us and get whatever they need here, it brings people together.”

Despite its storefront downtown, an eclectic clothing and knick-knack shop, Fluff Hardware, was featured at the market as well, further emphasizing the importance of networking at a community-based event like the market. 

A store employee proudly shared why sharing the store’s products with the community is meaningful.

“We like sharing the handmade jewelry with the community, there is a lot of Idaho-inspired stuff and it’s special that we make it here. Here in the Farmer’s Market, it’s all local businesses and we support each other like I’m wearing a necklace from a booth over there.”

Not only is the market bringing the Boise community together,  it’s also connecting the individuals selling at the booths. The Fluff Hardware employee went on to express a sentiment that reflects just that.

“The salsa guy helped me put up my tent today and now I want to try salsa. It’s cool for the people who work here to mingle too.”

There was a sense of that nostalgic small-town charm that is scarcely found in evergrowing Boise. Feeling less like a competition between vendors and more like a unique smorgasbord of different wares from across the treasure valley.

Audra McKissen, co-owner of Vitalize Juice, a business that prides itself on creating delicious juices that contain one hundred percent fruit and vegetables, discussed the benefit of being able to converse with the customer consuming their products.

“We’re inspired to sell at the market so we can watch people taste our juices and explain to them how amazing they are and how different they are from store-bought juices,” McKissen said. “The farmers are actually the ones getting the dirty hands farming the stuff and selling it to their customers. You see it from the seed all the way to the customer, and that’s really important for the community.” Having vendors who care about the customer makes a world of difference in both the product the individual is buying and the experience they have purchasing it. 

Experience the Capital City Public Market which is held every Saturday April 15 through December 16 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to support these talented members of local businesses.

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