INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — After popping off a red Tupperware lid, Scott Lehr dips a pair of silver tongs into a pile of habanera beef jerky, selecting a piece and depositing it into customer Jay Paynter’s outstretched hand.
“It’s fresh,” said Paynter, an Incline Village resident, to Lehr, co-owner of Sierra Nevada Gourmet Meats. “Oh, that’s good.”
Paynter was one of many shoppers on Wednesday, July 17, sampling the edible products being sold at the newly opened Farmers Market at Tunnel Creek.
The market, open 4-7 p.m. every Wednesday through September, sells lotions, soaps, handbags, yard art, jewelry, kitchen goods, honey, nuts, fruit, vegetables and meat.
“It really is kind of a one-stop shop,” said Steve Rozier, the market’s manager.
“The variety is nice, but I’m impressed with the quality,” Paynter added. “The fruit and the veggies, everything is just so fresh.”
Rozier said the market’s edible products are usually picked the day before to guarantee their freshness.
“Your big box places — they pick them, they sit them around for awhile, (and) they ripen in the box,” he said. “(Here) you’re guaranteed pretty much freshness. If it’s not, (the vendors) they’ll tell you exactly how to take care or it.”
That’s exactly what Kalayada Beutel, of K & J Orchards, was doing as Incline Village residents Judy and Don Morrison purchased some pears from her.
“All of them have to be in the refrigerator,” Beutel said. “Take one out every morning because the chill will activate the inside and make the pear ripe. Pear never gets sweet in the hot weather.”
Yet under an outdoor tent, with a shining sun overhead, the sweet scent of the vendor’s nectarines wafted up when standing near them.
While the farmers market features some California vendors such as K & J Orchards, Rozier said he started the market in an effort to showcase Nevada vendors and produce.
“The whole plan was to put the Nevada flag in the market, and try to get Nevada producers up to Lake Tahoe where we have millions of visitors every year,” he said.
As people strolled through, looking at the various products, the voices of Billy Starr and Tom Riek — of the Tom and Billy Show — cooed in the background, enhancing the market’s casual, relaxed vibe with live music.
“I think it’s great that it’s here,” said Carol Wirtschafter, a second-home owner in Incline Village. “It’s close, and I enjoy seeing the locally grown fruits and vegetables, as well as the few crafts that are here.”
Rozier said he’s been receiving a lot of positive feedback from market-goers.
“It (the market) works well up here,” he said. “A lot of comments that we get is just the fact that we’re saving Incline residents a drive to Reno or Tahoe City or Truckee, so they like it.”
Many people leaving the market last Wednesday could be seen carrying multiple bags filled with goods.
“We’ll be back every week,” Judy Morrison vowed.