NOT THAT LONG AGO…
Started in 1998, the Cherry Street Farmers’ Market (now the Tulsa Farmers’ Market) sprung from the kernel of an idea — that local, seasonal, and sustainable food is better tasting and better for you—that has continued to grow in scope and size not only in Tulsa but also around the nation. Several Tulsans recognized early on the need for such an entity, including Marilyn Ihloff, Susan Simmons, Susan Gray, Jim East, and Richard Groenendyke. With much grassroots support, they worked to bring Cherry Street business owners, area farmers, and Tulsa shoppers together to create a market at which promoting local interests coincides with providing quality foodstuffs. Many of the original vendors are still vendors today.
STRENGTH IN NUMBERS
As our Farmers’ Market has grown—up from a handful of vendors in the late 1990s to close to 80 today—it has gained widespread support from the community at large. Located in Lincoln Plaza from 1998 to 2009, the Market moved to Cherry Street in 2010 with the strong support of market goers, merchants, and the city council. Occupying East 15th Street from South Quaker to South Rockford, the Market has continued to expand, accommodating more vendors and offering more products.
The Tulsa Farmers’ Market is a purely Oklahoma Grown market, which means all agricultural products must be grown or raised in Oklahoma. We are also a 100% producer market: all agricultural products are grown or raised by the farmer/vendor selling at the market, and over 75% of our vendors are farmers. This eliminates the need for middle men and ensures that the products offered are fresh, local, and sustainable.
ONWARD & UPWARD
In 2004, the Market began to offer a Wednesday market located at the Tulsa Garden Center. In 2007, the Wednesday market moved to the Brookside area and now resides at 41st and Peoria. Our Wednesday market hosts about 20 vendors and serves hundreds of customers. Our original Saturday market is also still going strong; it boasts nearly 80 vendors and serves thousands of customers each week during the market season, April to October. And in 2012, we began our Saturday Winter Farmers’ Market, which operates on a bi-weekly basis from our 41st & Peoria location from November through March. This provides a viable way for farmers and vendors to continue to bring local food goodness to our loyal customers year round!
The Tulsa Farmers’ Market is a not-for-profit venture, overseen by a volunteer board consisting of vendors and community members. The board crafts market policy, accepts new vendors, supervises market operations, and manages the finances of the market. The day-to-day market operations are handled by a Market Manager, Assistant Market Manager, and Market Administrator.
In 2015 and 2016, Cherry Street & Brookside Farmers’ Markets were voted Best Reason to Rise Early on a Weekend & Best Place to Shop Green in the Best of Tulsa Awards (The Tulsa Voice). The Tulsa Farmers' Market was also voted Best Farmers’ Market in Tulsa for 2016 and we were honored by a Governor’s proclamation in 2013 in recognition of our contribution to healthy eating and the local economy.
In 2011, the Cherry Street Farmers’ Market was awarded the Henry Bellmon Award for Sustainability for People. It was also voted Oklahoma’s Favorite Farmers’ Market by the America Farmland Trust.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS….
Q: AM I ALLOWED TO BRING MY DOG TO THE MARKET?
A: Effective April 12, 2014, Cherry Street & Brookside Farmers’ Markets are asking our valued customers to not bring pets into the market area. The Board of the Market made this difficult, but necessary, decision for the reasons listed in our Pet Policy Change. All service animals with permit are allowed.
Q: IS THE MARKET OPEN DURING BAD WEATHER?
A: The market is a ‘rain or shine’ event, so don’t let a little precipitation stand between you and fresh produce. We do care about your safety, however, so rest assured we’ll inform you of any market closings due to inclement weather.
Q: WHERE DOES THE PRODUCE AT THE MARKET COME FROM?
A: All produce and products sold at the Tulsa Farmers’ Market have been certified as authentic Oklahoma stock. We stipulate that all growers who sell at the market must plant their crops in Oklahoma soil. For vendors who offer prepared foods, or packaged goods, we ask that they use Oklahoma based ingredients in their products. We do this to ensure that our local economy prospers from the market.
Q: WHAT FORMS OF PAYMENT ARE ACCEPTED AT THE MARKET?
A. Cash is the most common currency at the market, but we accept debit cards, as well as SNAP tokens. The TFMA booth is always open during market hours, and the kind people working there will happily process your debit in exchange for market-friendly currencies. To learn more about your options, visit our “Ways To Pay” page.