By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
The Monticello Farmers Market season is coming to a close at the end of October. Wanting to keep the momentum alive, Laurie Stutt, owner of Laurie’s By Design, who had a booth of her own at the farmers market, decided to open a winter farmers market.
“I was looking for a venue for my food during the winter,” said Stutt. She explained some of the other vendors who also make and sell home-baked goods wanted to keep their business going into the winter season as well.
Stutt said she shared the idea with Judy Skay, who organizes the farmers market.
“She loved it!” Stutt said.
She then talked to Rev. Jean Sullivan with the United Church of Monticello about allowing them to utilize the church basement. Stutt said the basement is at street level and handicap accessible. There are also bathrooms and a kitchen for use. The church is located at 123 N. Chestnut St.
Before Stutt sold her goods at the farmers market, she would take requests at home and deliver to her customers. Now she is visible within the community and accessible. She specializes in delicious baked goods such as pretzels, pastries, breads, turnovers, muffins and recently started experimenting with scones.
“I’ve just always loved to bake,” said Stutt. She recalled times when her grandmother (Grandma Bohlken) would be in the kitchen baking bread. “It wasn’t long before she was passing the skill onto me,” Stutt said on her business Facebook page. “I loved getting my hands in the dough and shaping buns or our own little loaves. She instilled the love of baking in me that I carry with me to this day. I love baking just about anything, but my love of baking bread definitely tops my list.”
Wanting to start her own bakery some day, Stutt said this is the next best thing, being able to sell your goods to the public. “It helps establish a client-base,” Stutt explained.
Winter farmers markets are not unusual, but few take place around the area. Stutt said Cedar Rapids is just getting their market up and running for the winter. Some the vendors already lined up for the Monticello winter market include Stutt, Bumbles Bakeshop (Mel Pasker and Missi Hodge), a gal who makes homemade honey, Joan KcKim with her custom embroidery and another gal who designs and makes vinyl photographs.
“Everyone will have access to tables versus bringing their own,” Stutt said.
The winter farmers market will open on Saturday, Nov. 3, at the church. The hours will run the same as the outdoor market: Wednesdays from 3 to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 to 11 a.m. Stutt hopes to have a variety of vendors on hand, including those who also take part in the outdoor market at the middle school.
If you are interested in having a booth at the market, the cost is $6 for a 6-foot table and $8 for an 8-foot table. Of the fee, $5 goes to the church for utilities while the farmers market is in operation. There is a limited amount of space, so call ahead for a table request.
During the grand opening day, Stutt said she hopes to have give-aways as well. If you’d like to reserve space for a booth, contact Stutt at 319-480-7957. You can also visit her Laurie’s By Design Facebook page or the page for the Monticello Iowa Winter Farmers Market. Stutt said there would be updates and information on the Facebook page throughout the winter season.
“People will get a chance to see local crafters and bakers,” Stutt said of the indoor market.