The apples come from a farm in Payson, and when they arrive Kely Alexander slices up a few samples to tempt market-goers. The pizzas are cooked on-site — with the dough patted into a thick round then thrust into a mobile fireplace and topped with homemade salsa and guacamole. The music comes from a Celtic flute, and the people come from all over.
Provo Farmer’s Market, held at Pioneer Park on Center Street, has been a natural gathering place for families, musicians and vegetables each harvest season since 2009.
BYU business major Robert Carroll discovered the farmer’s market just this summer, but he has become a regular. He visits his friends and fellow students Matt and Jessica Reschke, who bake pizza on Italian-style bread. They call him their “best customer.”
“I’ve been here twice a week, bringing a different friend every time for three weeks,” he said. “And they’re only open twice a week.”
Matt Reschke removed a “Bobo” pizza from the fire using a long wooden paddle, and his wife moved it onto a plate and pointed to the thinly sliced potatoes, feta cheese and rosemary.
“I love the rosemary,” said Carroll, who had brought yet another friend along to experience the pizza.
The Reschkes were not the only team at the market. Dami Peterson was introduced to it by her boyfriend, Braxton Lemmon, and she has spent her summer helping him make and sell salsa and guacamole every Saturday morning.
“They’re new family recipes,” Lemmon said with pride. “I came up with them.”
They have a trade agreement with the Reschkes, whose stall is just across from theirs.
“We used his salsa instead of pizza (sauce) on this one,” said Jessica Reschke, pointing to a pizza that was coated in salsa and guacamole.[wpbp_blocks set=”all” ids=”363791″]
Ikaika Cox, a Utah resident who has been selling handmade, fresh lemonade at the market since July, said trading with the other vendors is the best part of the farmer’s market.
“I come here with limes, and I get two meals out of it,” Cox said.
For Cox, the farmer’s market is a summer gig, but for the Lovells, it is a piece in a larger story. Randy Lovell remembers the first time he tasted the “Mini Donuts” he now sells — at Pier 39 in San Francisco in 1983. He and his wife, Kaylene, were fascinated by the intricate machine used to make the tiny donuts and enchanted with the taste. When they heard that one of the same machines was for sale at the beginning of this summer, they decided to buy it and sell the donuts at the various parties, markets and events around Provo.
“We just kind of go anywhere we can,” Lovell said. “We thought it would be a perfect way to teach (our 14-year-old daughter) how to work.”
He and his wife enjoy hearing the stories of when other people first tried these unique donuts, some in Seattle, others as far away as Minnesota.
“The inventor (of the machine) was a political science major,” Lovell explained. “He said the aroma brings them, (the machine) keeps them, and the taste will bring them back.”
Another pair that keeps coming back is called “Cotton Bones.” Quincy Nelson and Doug Patterson are both BYU students, part of a group of friends that has taken up “busking” — playing instruments in public places for tips — at the Farmer’s Market.
They will accept other musicians with a passion for bluegrass and folk music, take song requests and direct people to their Facebook page for free music downloads. Asked how much money they usually make, they grow quiet.
“Buskers aren’t supposed to say,” Patterson said. “It’s busker’s code.”
Musicians, farmers and students will continue to bring both wares and stories to swap at the farmer’s market every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through the end of October.