Rebranding a business is sometimes necessary when situations change, especially when a business’ name reflects the street on which it is located.
For example, the Cherry Street Farmers Market held court on its namesake street from the inception of the market in 1998 to 2019, but road construction forced the market to relocate for at least a year, so the timing was right for a name change suitable to fit any possible new location.
The largest farmers market in the state, the Tulsa Farmers’ Market, as it is known now after an official name change, started with a handful of vendors, wedged into the parking lot on the southeast corner of 15th Street and Peoria Avenue. Over the years, the quaint corner gathering has grown into a thriving market with just shy of 70 vendors, offering many varieties of produce, meat, honey, dairy, wine, plants and crafts.
“This is our 23rd season, and we are still the largest market in the state,” said Kris Hutto, executive director of Tulsa Farmers’ Market. “This is something we are very proud of.”
Why change the name of a thriving business midstream? The market required a move due to the street repairs on 15th Street, also known as Cherry Street, that began this past fall.
The Tulsa Farmers’ Market’s Board of Directors scouted many different locations before settling on Kendall Whittier.
“The area is thriving,” Hutto said. “The corner of Admiral and Lewis was a perfect choice.”
Kendall Whittier is an exciting, up-and-coming neighborhood full of highly engaged, locally owned businesses and residents. The area is anchored by historic stalwarts, including Ziegler Art & Frame and Circle Cinema. It has many new hot spots, such as Heirloom Brewery and Bar 473. This Oklahoma Certified Cultural District has a lot to offer, including a local bakery (Pancho Anaya), a brunch spot (Calaveras Mexican Grill), a local coffee roaster (Fair Fellow Coffee Roasters) and many eclectic shopping options, such as Whitty Books, StemCell, Jo & June and much more.
Doctor Kustom’s Taste of Brazil food truck is a new vendor this spring, in addition to a new honey purveyor and a booth selling strawberries from Stilwell, the self-purported “Strawberry Capital of the World.” Kitchen 66 will be returning with an assortment of Kitchen 66 launch companies. Also new to the market this year is something early-rising marketgoers have been craving for years — coffee! Topeca Coffee Roasters will serve espresso drinks on-site from a new custom-made electric eTuk Vendor vehicle.
All produce and products sold at the Tulsa Farmers’ Market have been certified as authentic Oklahoma stock. The market’s bylaws stipulate that all growers who sell at the market must plant their crops in Oklahoma soil. Vendors who offer prepared foods, or packaged goods, are asked to use Oklahoma based ingredients in their products. The certification, verified by site visits, ensures that our local economy prospers from the market.
The mission of the Tulsa Farmers’ Market is “to advance a thriving community in the greater Tulsa area by continuing and fostering relationships between the local farmers and consumers; promoting health and wellbeing through community outreach; facilitating access to nutritious, local foods and encouraging earth-friendly lifestyle and business practices.” In doing this, the market connects the growers with the area’s consumers, forging relationships, as well as strengthening the local farmer-to-table economy.
The market is currently operating its winter season at Kendall Whittier from 8:30 a.m. to noon every other Saturday through March. March 14 and March 28 will be the last weekends for the winter market — before the spring season officially opens April 4, running from 7–11 a.m. every Saturday through October.
“We’re shaking things up this year,” Hutto said. “Last year was the last time we will host the Farmers Market Harvest Dinner. This year, we are having the first annual Spring Garden Fest and the first annual Boozy Brunch Bingo at American Solera.”
Spring Garden Fest will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 11 across from the market (on Admiral Boulevard, just west of Lewis Avenue).
The festival will feature numerous Oklahoma growers and vendors offering a wide variety of herbs, bedding plants, flowers, pollinator-friendly plants, garden decor and more. Food and drinks will also be available from local food trucks, breweries and chefs.
Another first for the market this year is the acceptance of annual sponsorships. Proceeds from sponsorships will go toward many aspects of the market, including the transit program, which helps get those in need to the market.
“We are very excited to see that program expand,” Hutto said.
The TFM Kid’s Club is also expanding, and the market’s Board of Directors is developing a sustainability challenge for customers of all ages to participate in, for example, giving points for those riding their bikes to market.
“Overall, we want to grow our family,” Hutto said. “There are many opportunities for volunteering, either one-off or regularly.”
Spring seems to be moving in early this year, so take advantage of the beautiful weather, browse the market booths and the Kendall Whittier neighborhood, making some connections of your own. I never leave the area without a latte from the corner coffee shop, Fair Fellow, and a pop into Pancho Anaya for a bag of freshly made cinnamon-sugar dusted churros.
Visit tulsafarmersmarket.org for more information on the Tulsa Farmers’ Market and to sign up for the weekly newsletter. Find a list of vendors attending each week’s market, as well as information on any events and volunteer opportunities.
“There will also be a parking map for the new location on the website,” Hutto said. “We are closing Admiral from Lewis to Atlanta to fit all of the vendors in.”