Mustangs at Market

MN represents at Farmers Market, benefits Omaha

A cool, summer breeze blows gently through the air. The voices of customers shopping and sellers working their stands combine to create a steady hum of noise. It’s the Omaha Farmers Market, and for some, the stalls it hosts are perfect for a relaxing summer job.

Senior Faith Withers spent this past summer working at a dog treat stand at the Farmers Market in Aksarben. She was asked to run the stand after working for its associated small treat business, Brixtix Bakery for Dogs, for a while.

“When [my boss] asked me to work the stand at the Farmers Market I said ‘yes’ because I love being outside with the dogs,” Withers said.

The job features perks like exposure to summer weather, generous pay, and what Withers considers to be a positive atmosphere.

“[The Farmers Market] is like a family. The community is really nice and everyone knows each other. Sometimes we’ll do trades, so someone will give me something and I’ll give them dog treats,” Withers said.

While she enjoys how tight-knit the community is, Withers has faced some challenges on the job.

“Setting up and taking down the stand can be a lot, especially when it’s hot out and you’ve worked long hours,” Withers said.

Also working at the Farmers Market during the summer of 2022 was junior Mye Gatzemeyer. Gatzemeyer got involved by working at the dog treat stand alongside Withers, and later transitioned to selling coffee with Tap Dancers Specialty Coffee.

“My favorite part of the job is just the conversations,” Gatzemeyer said. “People will just come up and talk to you, and I really enjoy it.”

Although the atmosphere is considered to be generally friendly, not every customer follows that pattern.

“It doesn’t happen that often, but there are rude people out there, and they’ll yell at you if they think you did something wrong. People think they have authority over you because you’re a worker,” Gatzemeyer said. “It’s not too common, though. It happens about three times a summer.”

Despite the challenges, both Withers and Gatzemeyer hope to work at the Farmers Market again this summer. However, students won’t be the only ones working the stands. Carly Persell, debate teacher Dylan Sutton’s wife, bakes fruit based treats with Gnome Baked Goods to sell at the Farmers Market, primarily at the Old Market location.

“I personally attend every Farmers Market with help from Mr. Sutton,” Persell said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to get feedback directly from consumers and build a long term customer base.”

Time management is an important part of Persell’s job, as she has to balance her day job with her baking. She allots time throughout the week for buying, washing, and preparing her ingredients so they’re ready to bake.

“All goods that I sell are baked within 24 hours of the market, which can make Fridays quite challenging. Thankfully, my day job is flexible and allows me to take the occasional Friday afternoon off to focus on baking,” Persell said.

During her time at the Farmers Market, Persell has come to appreciate the importance it has in many people’s lives, farmers or not.

“…[S]peaking to the vendors gives me insight into how dedicated they are to what they produce,” Persell said. “It also allows me to have an understanding of how directly my purchase supports their family and business.”

While it benefits individuals, the Farmers Market has an impact on the greater Omaha community as well.

“The market is an essential step to address food issues in Omaha… [There is a] lack of grocery stores in the downtown area– a food desert that the Old Market location helps address during the summer,” Persell said.

Knowing all of the experiences and benefits of the Farmers Market, Persell believes that it is an essential part of Omaha. Withers and Gatzemeyer seem to agree, as they both encourage their peers to visit the Farmers Market if they get the chance.

“Come and support local businesses,” Withers said. “They help grow the community of Omaha, and it’s just a really fun experience.”