Ryan Alarie had to change his eating habits after donating a kidney. Wanting to help others who wish to eat healthy, he started Ra Seasonings in 2015.
“I donated one of my kidneys to a family member so I kind of had to change my diet; what I eat and how I eat,” said Alarie of Tempe.
While running his business, Alarie said he became interested in farmers markets and their health benefits.
“Going up to the farmers markets with my company, I just felt I wanted to share that with East Mesa, which doesn’t have one,” Alarie said.
The Red Mountain Farmers Market is open from October to May in the parking lot of Mesa Community College Red Mountain. The farmers market works with 40 to 50 vendors, including Tea and Lace Boutique, Juice Plus, Bite Me Healthy Bakery and Mom Corp Apparel. Food trucks have snacks available for purchase with participants like Chinoz Grill and Three Dogs Eatery. Also involved are artisans like Pako Lazo and Natural Creations Jewelry.
Alarie works with vendors who are relatively new to the industry and can’t get into other markets. He only allows one vendor of each type.
“Most farmers markets have two or three of the same types of vendors,” Alarie said, “We try to do one of each, so we don’t intrude on other vendors trying to make their living.”
The farmers market partners with the Red Mountain Mesa Community College as they both strive to benefit students.
Cheryl Hardt, the college’s administrative assistant to the vice provost, said the farmers market brings awareness to the campus.
“It’s been here 17 years and we still get individuals who say, ‘We didn’t even know you were here,’” Hardt said.
Proceeds from the market are set aside to create a scholarship fund for MCC Red Mountain students.
“The goal is to have $10,000 per year and scholarships,” Hardt said.
Charles Hilton, a vendor with the Red Mountain Farmers Market, said he likes the diversity of the market and its affordability.
“I think it is going to be very popular for the people in the East Valley and Las Sendas,” Hilton said.
Alarie wants to continue to bring unique vendors to the East Valley.
“It’s dear to my heart to promote healthier lifestyles,” Alarie said.
if you go
What: Red Mountain Farmers Market
When: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays
Where: Mesa Community College, 2307 N. Power Road, Mesa