Grand opening set for June 23
By Angie Landsverk
A Fox Valley Technical College work experience program has brought a new manager to the Waupaca Farmers Market this season.
“I was thrilled. I couldn’t have found a better job for me,” said Sandra Olvera.
The Waupaca native just completed her first year of studying natural resources at Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC).
FVTC helps students get experience in the fields they are interested in going into, Olvera said.
“Before this, I worked at Brooks Farm,” she said.
Becky Hurt, a career planner at the Waupaca Job Center, knew Olvera had a stand at the farmers market last year.
Hurt happened to see Christi Gabrilska at a conference and told her she had the perfect person to manage the market this year, Olvera said.
Gabrilska is Waupaca County’s FoodWIse nutrition coordinator, and she brought the idea forward to Living the Waupaca Way.
Living the Waupaca Way is the result of a 2016 merger between two groups.
Those groups are the Waupaca County Nutrition and Activity Coalition (NuAct) and Waupaca Community Health Action Team’s (CHAT) healthy living work group.
Waupaca’s CHAT is made up of group of people from throughout the community who work together to understand local health issues.
NuAct formed in 2003 after childhood health, nutrition and inactivity surfaced as health concerns in the county.
Due to their common goals for the community, members of the two groups began meeting in 2016 and decided to join efforts under a new name: Living the Waupaca Way.
Living the Waupaca Way supports the Farm to Table Dinner, Farm to School, Waupaca Farmers Market and working with organizers of local events to help them provide healthier menu options.
Its mission is to coordinate and empower community groups to enhance overall health through good nutrition and physical activity.
A top focus of the group is to expand the farmers market by increasing the number of vendors at it and adding activities.
“The main goal is just to build communication between the farmers, and coordinating events,” Olvera said.
The market is held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays, wrapping around the corner of Fulton and Main streets.
It opened on June 2 and runs through October.
With the parking around the city square set to be reconstructed this summer, an alternative location for the market will be the parking lot of the old St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church, if necessary.
It is located at the corner of Badger and State streets.
As the manager of the farmers market, Olvera is recruiting new vendors.
The city of Waupaca has also provided a small office space in City Hall for her.
Those interested in being vendors may email Olvera at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vendors need to be from Waupaca County, or a county adjacent to it, she said.
“We try to focus on the local part of it to boost our own local economy,” Olvera said.
The vendors sell everything from meat, herbs and flowers to potted plants, vegetables and soap.
She will be selling maple syrup, blackberries, vegetables, herbs, tomatoes and honey at her stand this season.
“We try to incorporate vendors with different niches so they are all unique and stand out in their own way,” Olvera said.
Each year, the market has a grand opening for its season, and this year’s grand opening is on Saturday, June 23.
“There’s going to be lots of family friendly activities,” she said. “We’re hoping to have a musician and will encourage samples.”
Carousel Gymnastics will be at the market from 10 a.m. to noon that day.
Other activities are also planned this summer at the market.
Gerry Hamm will lead yoga for people of all ages on Saturday, July 14.
On Saturday, Aug. 4, Sara Reybrock, Waupaca’s senior citizen coordinator, will lead cardio drumming.
Tim Lencki, of Adventure Outfitters, will do a fat tire bike demonstration on Saturday, Aug. 25.
There will be a farmers market at this weekend’s Strawberry Fest.
It will be located on Session Street.
As in past years, the farmers markets will have a presence at Arts on the Square, which is on Saturday, Aug. 18.
Olvera is also interested in bringing music to the market.
Those interested in playing may email her for details.
She encourages residents and those vacationing in the area to visit the market.
They will find inexpensive produce, friendly service and local, healthy food, Olvera said, while supporting local farmers.
She hopes to double the number of vendors at the market.
“I’d like to see us be more of a community,” Olvera said. “I would like to see the connections, interaction, relationships be built stronger this year.”