Ryan Alarie was able to quit his job a few years ago and focus on his seasoning business.
A large source of business for the entrepreneur came from setting up booths in farmer’s markets around the valley. Alarie hired employees to man his seasoning tents in several markets while he set his sites on providing local goods in an area that was near and dear to him.
“I decided the East valley was lacking a farmer’s market in the area,” Alarie said. “I grew up near the Red Mountain campus and I wanted to get the community involved with shopping local and supporting small businesses.”
After school, Alarie worked in real estate up until he started his business five years ago. He donated a kidney and decided to become more conscious of what he ate. After being dissatisfied with what was available on the market, he decided to change that. Instead of sacrificing flavor for health, he concocted a medley of herbs and spices that eventually became his own line of seasonings.
Alarie studied business management at Mesa Community College (MCC) in 2008,
so he was excited to partner with his alma mater for what he refers to a good cause and a service to the community.
“Come grab a coffee,” Alarie said. “Shop for lunch, shop for gifts, and with every dollar you spend a percentage will go toward scholarships.”
Last season the market donated $10,000 toward the Red Mountain Farmer’s Market Scholarship for students who attend the Red Mountain campus with a minimum a 2.5 grade point average. Alarie stated this year they are on track to donate $13,000 as the market grows.
“Now that I know this market funds scholarships, I like it even more,” Mesa local Mary Pollman said. “I like bringing my daughter here from time to time because it’s our little adventure, and we get to pick up some treats.”
Mary Pollman walked from tent to tent with her 6-year-old daughter, Bianca, in tow. They stopped at a gourmet dog treat booth in hopes of picking up a couple goodies for their pets.
“Some of these look good enough to eat,” Pollman told the vendor.
The mother-daughter-duo chose a couple of treats hand-piped with icing like a decorative sugar cookie and made their way to the next booth.
Pollman said this was her third time visiting the Red Mountain Farmer’s Market,conveniently located close to her home.
“I want my kids to grow up in a community where we support each other, and farmer’s markets are all about community,” Pollman said. “The only thing is I wish there were more businesses out here. I like that it’s not too hectic and packed with people, but I really would love to see it grow and be successful, so that way I know it will be around for a long time.”
Alarie estimated around 50 booths currently serve the community local produce, meats, hand-made jewelry, baked goods, and several more artisan products.
For a list of vendors and more information about the Red Mountain Farmer’s Market visit http://www.redmountainfarmersmarket.com or find them on Facebook and Instagram at @redmountainfarmersmarket.