Farmers Outlet market opens this month in West Boise

adutton@idahostatesman.comJune 10, 2013 

A market that sells produce from farmers will open this month, under a tent on the corner of Five Mile Road and Fairview Avenue in West Boise. Hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day of the week.

The Farmers Outlet will feature produce from 13 farmers at first, but owner Terry Gillette hopes to have 50 farms represented by the end of the season in November. The outlet, which cost about $57,000 to launch, will eventually employ as many as 15 people, Gillette said. He said Smartt Farms, which grows melons and other produce in Meridian, provided tents and other supplies.

"I've been planning this for years," Gillette said.

Gillette is a longtime purveyor of farm-fresh produce. He opened his first shop in Laguna Beach, Calif., in 1974. He followed that up with a market in Ventura, Calif., that endured for 13 years until the "beck and call" of Idaho brought him to his current home in Boise's North End, he said. Local shoppers may recognize him from a similar kind of stand he operated last year outside of the Meridian Albertson's store on Meridian Road and Fairview Avenue/Cherry Lane.

The outlet will be a venue for farmers who harvest every day, growing too much to sell at a once-a-week farmer's market. The outlet will take a commission, based on how labor-intensive it is to display and sell each farmer's items.

For this month, Gillette expects to sell produce grown in Nevada, where harvests start earlier. He'll also sell cherries from farms in the western Treasure Valley. A bounty of local produce will arrive in July. About half the food will be organic.

"Eventually, the end result is having a giant market where all the farmers bring their stuff, and then restaurants [and] the public ... can buy direct from the farms," Gillette said, adding, "I'm happy because I'm working outside."

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