At The Market: Farmers’ Market merch is so Arcata

MARKET GEAR How about a trucker’s hat to go with your kale, or a beanie with your string beans? Janine Volkmar | Union

You’ve been to the merch booth at your favorite group’s concert, buying CDs, downloads if you are hipper, and  of course, a T-shirt.

The merch booth, otherwise known as the information booth, at the Arcata Farmers’ Market makes those music merch booths look positively out of date.

Where else but at the Arcata market can you buy a hemp hat with a leather looking label in the front that is actually vegan? And where else can you buy a trucker hat where the plastic piece at the back is made of recycled soda bottles? And they are a reasonable price of $16.

And where else are the T-shirts guaranteed to be organic cotton, bamboo, or hemp, locally printed, and locally sourced?

This year they have a beautiful Alan Sanborn painting on them with the highly collectible graphic reading 40th anniversary. Short sleeve shirts are $20, long sleeve shirts are $25 and toddler and youth shirts cost $17.

“In general our stuff is from local companies and printed locally,” said Ivy North, the director of programs.

“The Chico bags are recycled plastic, too,” she said.

My favorite purple North Coast Growers Association logo Chico bag stuffs into its own sack, comes with a recycled aluminum carabiner to fasten it to my big basket, and the fabric is made out of 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. I have another bag that is prettier and printed with a design of the Eiffel Tower but the snaps that fasten it up broke the first week. It’s always like some beautiful swirling jellyfish  in my purse.

My purple workhorse fits into the palm of my hand when stuffed into its carry sack but unfolds to a generous 21 inch by 16 inch carrying space. Best of all the carry sack is sewn integrally into the whole shebang so it doesn’t get lost. It’s a bargain at $10.

I love it in case you couldn’t tell.

The canvas totes are $17 with a markdown price on last year’s totes of $15.

Other treasures at the market information booth include mesh produce bags for $3 each or two for $5. These can be washed and reused. Handsome ceramic mugs with the 40th anniversary logo are $10 and beanies are $12. A gift certificate of Farmers’ Market bucks always makes a nice present, particularly when the recipient gets to pick out his or her own produce.

Local artist Alan Sanborn has been painting the farms of Humboldt County for years. (Mad River Union Nov. 11, 2015). Every year a different farm is chosen to be his subject. That painting is used on posters ($5), postcards (50 cents or 10 for $4), T-shirts, and tote bags. What an easy way to own a Sanborn.

To see the entire collection of his Farmers’ Market posters go into Arcata Exchange at the corner of Eighth and H streets on the Plaza and look up at the south wall. It’s a lovely collection and a testament not only to Sanborn’s art but the beauty of our surrounding farms.

Why buy all this great merch?  Just as your favorite Indie band needs to sell merch for gas money to get to the next gig, the North Coast Growers Association staff, the folks who organize the markets, need funds to keep the market going and to share food with those who need help in having access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

The staff administers a number of programs that help make that a reality for so many of our friends and neighbors. Your support is so appreciated.

For more information, visit, click on programs, then on food access.



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