LARAMIE -- The Thursday Local Farmers Market, southeast Wyoming’s finest source for locally produced food, opens today. The market is at the corner of 7th and Ord Streets in Undine Park in Laramie and runs from June 20 to September 26.

Some of the LOCAL FOOD available includes beef, chicken, eggs, honey, baked goods, bread, artisans, artists, and non-profit organizations. And SNAP benefits have a 50% match.

Market manager Peggy McCrackin said there are nearly 20 vendors coming for the first week.

“We have quite a few vendors today, some new, and some familiar vendors, like Bear Bait, who does prepared food, and a new prepared food vendor, Devine Eats.”

So far, other vendors who will be there this afternoon are Black Market Farm, Busy Bee Farm, Cowboy Branded Meats, CRC Livestock, Elm Books, Feeding Laramie Valley, Happy Jack Harvest, LCCC, Laramie Montessori School, Sweets Cakes & Pastries, UW Raccoon Project, Wybesbees, Wyoming Willow Baskets, and The Knife Guy.

Other vendors who will participate throughout the summer, just not today, include C&R Farms, Censible Nutrition, Lanny’s Homemade Ice Cream, Sheila Bird Farms, Slow Goat Farm, Twin Buttes Cattle Co., and a few more possibilities.

“Some vendors come every week, and some come in and out, depending on what else is going on with them. Every Thursday, we post on our Facebook page who is coming that week. More vendors will come. As farmers produce more, there will be more fruits and vegetables available. This first market, not so much! But farmers are working hard to produce – they’ll get there!”

McCrackin said each market features a calm atmosphere, excellent products, and activities for the kids.

“We will have kid’s activities at every market. This week, we have two kid’s activities. The Albany County Public Library will be doing Story Time from 4 to 4:40. And they will offer that many times throughout the summer, and that will be posted, too. The other, a quite popular group that will be at the market today, is the U.S. Forest Service, with Smoky the Bear. Kids love that, and they will have some activities at their booth.”

She said the market welcomes SNAP/EBT benefits, and they provide a 50 percent match.

“It’s super easy. Just come with your card, we have a machine to swipe the card, then we match 50 percent. It’s a good deal for people who use those benefits. You can use them the same way as you would at the grocery store – whatever you can buy at the store, you can buy here.”

McCrackin explained what makes the Thursday “Local” Farmers Market unique.

“One feature that distinguishes the Thursday Local market from other farmers markets, is that we do require vendors to produce, grow, or make the products that they bring to the market. What that means for our market is that almost all of our vendors are local. They’re right here from Laramie, and a lot of them are just small, Mom & Pop operations, and they’re not traveling to six markets a week. They live here, they work here, they support the community, and they’re trying their business here at our farmers market,” said McCrackin.

“We’re always looking for new vendors. If you have contemplated taking your hobby to the next level and make a business out of it, the market is a great place to do it. There are no infrastructure costs. You just email us, get in the lineup, and try it! A lot of people started their businesses at farmers markets.”

If you are interested in being a vendor, volunteering at the market, or offering activities, check out the information at thursdaylocalmarket.com, email thursdaylocalmarket@gmail.com, or go to the Thursdaylocalmarket FB page, updated every Thursday.