If you're in the vicinity of Farmin Park on a Wednesday afternoon or Saturday morning late this summer and you sense some excitement in the air, it might have to do with The Corn Man.
Jim Cadnum of Bonners Ferry, aka "The Corn Man," has been selling Kandy King, a sugar-enhanced, tender-kernel variety of corn, at the Sandpoint Farmers Market for the last six summers. Starting in late August, Cadnum picks his sweet corn mere hours before he sells it at his stand, so it's fresh as fresh gets. And that's exciting to anyone who appreciates the fleeting tastes of summer.
Sweet corn is only one draw of the Market, now in its 12th year. From the beginning of May through October, fruits and vegetables from area farms and gardens -- including many organic varieties -- are in abundance. Local artisans display wares ranging from handmade baskets to handcrafted soaps to hand-painted gourds. Area nurseries as well as avid, hobby gardeners bring starter plants, bulbs and fresh-cut flower bouquets for sale. On Saturdays, musicians perform in the park, providing a lively, entertaining backdrop for shoppers and browsers. And at HarvestFest, the final market of the season on the first Saturday in October, jugglers, stilt-walkers and several musical acts celebrate the end of another bountiful season.
"For generations, across the country, farmers markets have been a community meeting place," says Diane Green, owner of Greentree Naturals organic farm, who has sold produce at the market -- and served on its board of directors -- for 11 years. "Whether you're a Sandpoint resident or a visitor, you can feel the strong sense of community at the Farmers Market. And that's so much a part of what Sandpoint is."
The Sandpoint Farmers Market is held on Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Farmin Park, Third and Oak streets. www.sandpointonline.com/farmersmarket
-- Terri Casey