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We love our local Farmers Market! Along with the fresh produce, homemade goods, flowers, hand-roasted coffee, local meats, pastries and skin care products you will find a multitude of characters with a passion for small-scale farming, delicious food and direct-to-market goods.
The longest-running vendor, but not quite the oldest, Patsy Kelley has sold her greens and herbs at the market for 28 years. Kelley, 79, is a wealth of high country gardening knowledge. She passes it on by taking on “interns” (average age in their 50s) who help her with labor while she shares her well-earned secrets.
“Getting your hands in the dirt with someone who has been here a while is quite helpful,” she says.
Kelley, known as the “lettuce lady,” has narrowed the produce she sells at the market to herbs and various greens, such as lettuces, kale, chard, spinach, mustards, and bok choy. She also sells tomato starts of varieties that will ripen in time at McCall’s altitude. She helps customers understand how to cook the greens in tasty ways, she says, which combines her love of growing with her love of cooking.
Kelley, who is one of a handful of vendors actually based in McCall, has a group of “bag ladies” who help bag the freshly-cut greens the day before market. They largely come “for the mental health aspect,” she says. It helps her reduce her pre-market prep time from about 20 hours to around 10.
Kelley and her partner, Dan Wilson, grow at their property off the appropriately named Farm to Market Road, where they have two greenhouses and open gardens. They are both involved with the operation of the market. Not only is Wilson their home garden mechanic, he is also the “vendor wrangler” and site manager.