Farm-Fresh Produce in Winter? You Bet
Riverside Farmers Market is Reno’s only local, year-round farmers’ market.
Written by Jessica Santina
Photos by Kasey Crispin
If you’re suffering from the winter blues this weekend, may I suggest you head outdoors to the farmers’ market? The bounty of locally grown tomatoes, vegetables, herbs, honey, and eggs is sure to lift you out of your winter funk.
Tomatoes in January? Yes, you read that right. Welcome to the Riverside Farmers Market, Reno’s own truly local, year-round farmers’ market, running outdoors throughout the winter — rain or shine — from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. every Saturday morning in the north parking lot of McKinley Arts & Culture Center in Reno.
Thanks to Dayton Valley Aquaponics, local tomatoes actually are available throughout the winter in Reno
It was the brainchild of local farmers Kasey Crispin and Zach Cannady, owners of Reno’s Prema Farm, and folks behind Dayton Valley Aquaponics in Dayton, Nev.
“We decided at the end of summer that we wanted a marketplace in the area to sell our products year round, fully independent of the season,” Crispin explains.
Crispin worked hard at the end of the busy summer season to get the City of Reno to approve the year-round market, which would take place on city-owned property and therefore require the farmers to jump a few extra hurdles. The results were worth it, though: the Riverside Farmers Market is the city’s first truly local year-round farmers’ market, selling entirely organic, sustainably raised produce grown within a 125-mile radius of Downtown Reno.
"Eat Your Altitude" is the slogan of the new, year-round Riverside Farmers Market at McKinley Arts & Culture Center
“It’s about recognizing the need for a market focused on local producers,” Crispin says. “We’re experiencing a surge right now of local, urban, organic farms — three new ones have started in the past year. And once they figure out production methods and get their crops going, we wanted to have a place for them to sell their products.”
Why a Year-Round Market?
Crispin says that Prema Farm — which she and Cannady founded in 2016 and currently produces a fully organic bounty that includes lettuces and salad greens, herbs, carrots, peas, radishes, melons, tomatoes, and much more — has already developed a network of loyal customers who actively seek out locally produced, organic items. Even at many farmers’ markets, she says, this can be hard to find.
“Unfortunately, the reality is that it’s not uncommon for farms to operate more like wholesalers, to buy vegetables from as far away as Mexico, and they don’t have to say that they didn’t grow it themselves,” Crispin says. “You’ll end up buying it at a market in Reno and you don’t realize that. It’s a bit of a farce. So everyone at our market has to grow what they sell.”
The January sun still shines at the Riverside Farmers Market in Reno
This extends to the craftspeople, who sell items such as handmade soaps and jewelry, as well as the food artisans selling baked goods at booths or food trucks offering up freshly cooked snacks or meals; or even service providers and manufacturers who provide goods that contribute to the mission of local, sustainable, organic, and eco-conscious living and eating.
What You’ll Find
Crispin says that the vendor lineup varies each week during the winter months, but the following farms have items for sale at the market each week:
- Prema Farm: organic vegetables and herbs
- Dayton Valley Aquaponics: microgreens, tomatoes, peppers
- First Fruits Sustainable Farm (Fallon): pasture-raised pork and eggs, organic produce, honey
- Ital Farms (Reno): organic vegetables and microgreens
- High Desert Farming Initiative (at University of Nevada, Reno): organic vegetables, herbs, honey
- Hole-In-One Ranch (Janesville, Calif.): pasture-raised beef, lamb, pork (available every other Saturday)
- Great Basin Community Food Co-op (Reno): organic and gluten-free baked goods, juices, and coffee
- MwintSoph (Reno): organic baked goods and tamales
- Wedge on Wheels (Reno): food truck offering artisanal cheeses and condiments
- Thali (Reno): food truck offering organic and vegetarian North Indian food
- Down to Earth Compost (Reno): the bicycle-powered local composting service offers drop-off and pickup of compost materials to its customers at the market
- Black Rock Refill (Reno): eco-friendly products and single-stream recycling drop-off service
- Gwendolyn’s Garden (Reno): handcrafted and locally sourced bouquets, wreaths, and pots
As cold weather gives way to warm, look for additional vendors to join the lineup. Once the spring and summer farmers’ market season gets rolling in Reno, the Riverside Farmers Market will relocate to the south side of McKinley, along Riverside Drive, and it will move to a Thursday evening schedule, in order to avoid competing with the nearby California Avenue market on Saturdays.
Riverside Farmers Market
October – May
9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Saturdays
North parking lot, McKinley Arts & Culture Center
925 Riverside Drive, Reno
June – September
4 – 8 p.m. Thursdays
South side of McKinley Arts & Culture Center (next to Riverside Drive)
For details, visit Premafarm.com/riverside-farmers-market.