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Have a fresh business idea? Try it out at a local farmer’s market

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Natalie Ah Quin sells soap at the Rexburg Farmer’s Market. | Eric Grossarth, EastIdahoNews.com

REXBURG — Farmer’s markets are now all over eastern Idaho. For some vendors, participation in a farmer’s market leads to a small-business venture — even if involves something unusual, like worm poop.

Heather and Stan Shuldberg began selling worm castings and worm tea, a liquified version of the castings, three years ago. Stan had just had back and shoulder surgery and was unable to operate farm equipment. While out of commission, Stan began using worm castings to increase the nutritional value of their windrows.

Their windrows are piles of cow manure. The manure is placed in rows in unused corners of fields. It is then turned until it is dry and spread across the field to act as a natural fertilizer.

“My husband had some (windrows) tested and was told that there (is) no more nutritional value when it’s been dried like that and all it is is matter,” Heather said.

The worm castings help bring back some nutritional value to enhance the fertilizing effect of the windrows.

Since they started selling worm castings at the Rexburg Farmer’s Market in 2016, Heather says their product has turned into a successful business venture. In addition to selling at local farmer’s markets, the product is also sold at Town and Country Gardens in Idaho Falls.

“Right now we’re on a low scale,” Shuldberg said. “We’re actually looking to become bigger than what we are now. We’re in four states around us.”

Jamie Ashcraft, Rexburg Farmer’s Market board member, said it is a great way for vendors to try new products and business ideas.

“It’s a good avenue to meet people and get your name out there,” Ashcraft said. “It’s kind of like a business incubator where you can test out a business and get a lot of good client feedback.”

Natalie Ah Quin started making soaps five years ago. She said the hobby serves as her outlet. She decided to sell at the farmer’s market this year under the name Mino’aka Creations. “Mino’aka” is the Hawaiian word for smile. Ah Quin’s husband is Hawaiian, so she said the word means a lot to their family.

“It’s just a word that is close to our heart because we love to smile,” Ah Quin said. “I just love it. Soap makes me smile.”

Ah Quin encourages up and coming business owners to get outside and sell their product at a farmer’s market.

“Just do it,” Ah Quin said. “Don’t hesitate, just jump in full board. It’s been an experience, but it’s been awesome.”

Ashcraft said shopping at the local farmer’s market provides great support to the local economy and farmers.

“We have awesome farmers,” Ashcraft said. “There are more than we ever had in the past. There are lots of good ways to get produce. It is usually picked that day. You’re not going to get a lot of fresher opportunities.”

Here is a list of markets in east Idaho:

  • The Idaho Falls Farmer’s Market is on Saturdays until Oct. 26. The market is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Memorial Drive.
  • The Rigby Farmer’s Market is on Wednesdays from June 12 to Aug. 21. The market’s hours are from 4 to 8 p.m. at 3865 East 300 North on Highway 48.
  • The Rexburg Farmer’s Market runs every Friday until Sept. 28 from 4 to 8 p.m. on College Avenue.
  • The Portneuf Valley Farmer’s Market is every Saturday until Oct. 26 at North Union Pacific Avenue and West Fremont Street in Pocatello. The market is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

People gather on Fridays at the Rexburg Farmer’s Market. | Eric Grossarth, EastIdahoNews.com
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