Market Madness

Area farmers’ markets
provide food, fellowship, fun

Growth shows popularity of these community events

June 2017 Cover

(June 2017) – Farmers’ markets are natural gathering places in communities like Madison, Ind., and neighboring cities and towns in Indiana and Kentucky. In an essay for the New York Review of Books, Michael Pollan writes, “There is a lot more going on (at a farmers’ market) than the exchange of food.” A sociologist found that people have 10 times as many conversations at these markets than they do at a supermarket, he said. “In many cities and towns, farmers’ markets have taken on the function of a lively new public square.”
Increasingly, farmers’ markets are full of local products that attract shoppers who want fresh, local products, instead of food that has been gassed and shipped hundreds or thousands of miles. Food in the United States travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to someone’s plate, according to the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture.   
The markets are full of products that are unique to a region. Many people go to their local market to get fresh product straight from the farmer. Wares vary with the season, but shoppers may find vegetables, meat, eggs, honey, bread and other baked goods, wine, nuts fresh flowers, plants, soap and personal care products, clothing, arts and crafts, and prepared foods.
In the past 30 years, farmers’ markets have surged in popularity nationwide. In the movement to buy local, people also get local foods at roadside stands, U-Pick operations, and through sharing the risk with farmers in Community Supported Agriculture. The mantra is the shorter the shelf life, the better.

Photo by Alice Jane Smith

Newly hired Madison Farmers’ Market Manager Ben Goldman.

Ben Goldman, 35, is the new market manager for Madison’s Farmers’ Market, which is open from April to late October. He loves the market’s location around the Broadway Fountain. Additional days of the market are expected to open on Tuesdays and Thursdays when more fruits and vegetables become available later in the growing season.
“It is in the heart of the community, just where it wants to be,” he said. “There are not that many places where people can gather to talk.”
Attendance and the number of vendors fluctuate with the growing season, he said. At most, he expects 25 to 30 vendors this year. Goldman and his wife, Dr. Beatrice Marovich, moved to nearby Hanover, Ind., from North Dakota last summer.
“We found this to be a welcoming community,” he said. Initially, he worked at a farmers’ market in Michigan.
In June, the Madison Farmers’ Market will begin to use the Supported Nutrition Assistance Program. This step opens the market to more people. “Economics should not be a barrier for people to buy local, healthy fresh food,” Goldman said.
The farmers’ market will have an intern, Maddie Rathgerber from Hanover College, this summer to help with the start-up of this program. There will be an information table at the market about the new program.

Photo by Alice Jane Smith

New Madison Farmers’ Market vendor Peggy Laird of Hanover, Ind., sells her Sunshine Made Jewelry to a group of customers.

“I definitely think more people are interested in where their food comes from,” said Goldman. “There is more awareness about healthy eating,” he said. There is less interest in eating foods that have been in transit for one month or more. “People are excited about farmers’ markets,” he said. “They like to keep the money in the community.”
Among the vendors at Madison are Tom Hatton and Dawn Cleary, both of whom work the summer and winter markets. Hatton has been selling honey since 2004 or 2005.
Local honey contains local pollen, which helps some people build up immunities. Cleary is popular with two species at the market. People like her, and so do the dogs. Since closing her Blue Cerebus Dog Bakery store on Main Street last year, she has been at the farmers’ market.
Franklin and Virginia Waddell sell plants. This year, they have fewer plants because Virginia fell and broke her leg, according to her husband. She was not able to get as many seeds started. “She starts them all, and I take care of them,” he said.

Photo by Don Ward

Jon Bednarski of Sherwood Acres Beef visits with a customer at the La Grange (Ky.) Farmers’ Market.

Randy and Kelly Nichols of Milton, Ky., sell fresh colorful eggs. Lynn and Laura Miller are new vendors this year, offering meats from cattle raised without hormones. They also have packages of kale and jars of jelly. Once a month, the Brownells with Nightfall Farm of Paris Crossing, Ind., come to the market, also selling fresh meats. Gary and Susan Duckworth of Madison cook breakfast for customers. Usually, there are musicians around the fountain.
In Kentucky, Russ Morris has volunteered as market manager for the past eight years at the  weekly
La Grange Farmers Market that sets up around the Oldham County Court-house Square. His wife, Pam, decided to join the market a few years ago, because she makes dog treats.
“My wife said if that if we are going to be hanging out at the farmers market every week in the summer, we might as well try to sell something,” Morris joked.
The La Grange Farmers Market averages about 40 vendors per season, according to Morris.

Photo by Don Ward

Jennifer and Darrel Taylor of La Grange display their beads, flowers and photographs at the La Grange Farmers’ Market.

“We are not in this to make money; we are trying to encourage people to buy local and support our local farmers,” Morris said.
Among the vendors are Darrel Taylor and his wife, Jennifer, of La Grange. They have a booth for his photographs and her beaded jewelry and paper flowers. Darrel takes photographs of La Grange scenes and prints them on canvas. He also makes metal signs to order.
Camryn McManis of Turners Station, Ky., is a Henry County High student who sells post cards and images from her photography business called Cam Nicole Photography. Her friend, Emily Bratton of Campbellsburg, Ky., has an all-natural soap, lip balm, candles business called Ivy & Paige.
The Oldham County Farmers’ Market is open from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. on Saturdays. The season is from May 13 to Oct. 28, except for the weekend of the Arts on the Green event on June 3.
This year, the Arts Association of Oldham County held a contest among its members to create a limited edition poster for the market. Oldham County artist Connie Sandusky won the contest.  There will be 200 limited edition posters made for $20 each plus tax. The money will support both the market and the arts association.
For the first time, a food truck has been set up near the market. It is owned by Jeff and Lainie Ford. There also is live music at the gazebo on the courthouse lawn each Saturday.
On June 16, the Owen County Farm and Craft Market will have its second Farm to Table Dinner at the Courthouse Square in Owenton, Ky. “This will be a great way to support local farmers and enjoy a dinner,” said Ginny Miller, extension program assistant. Michael Bradley will be the chef. All the food will be provided by local farmers. The cost will be $35 a plate. There will be live music. The event coincides with the town’s Mayberry Days festival also held Saturday, June 17.

Photo by Don Ward

These high school students from Henry County set up each week at the La Grange Farmers’ Market with their own separate businesses. They are (from left) soap and candle maker Emily Bratton of Campbellsburg and photographer Camryn McManis of Turners Station.

Vendors at the Owen County Farm and Craft Market offer meats, soups, baked goods, produce, fruits, and crafts, Miller said. They also sell lunches. Location of the courthouse and farmers’ market is 430 Roland Ave. in Owenton.
The Carrollton Farmers’ Market is open two days a week from May 1 to Labor Day. On Wednesdays, it is downtown at Point Park from noon to 5 p.m. On Saturdays, it is in the parking lot at Hometown Pizza from 8 a.m. to noon. Tourism director Misty Wheeler said she goes often and loves the variety the vendors usually have for sale.
The Henry County Farmers’ Market is open on the Henry County Courthouse lawn in New Castle from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. On Tuesdays, the market is at the 4-H Fairgrounds on U.S. 421 between New Castle and Pleasureville from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 
There are several area farmers markets in southern Indiana. The Charlestown Farmers’ Market is open from May to October on the square at Main Street from 3-6 p.m. Thursdays.
The Jennings County Farmers’ Market features fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers from May to October. It is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in the North Vernon City Park Shelter.

Photo provided

Oldham County artist Connie Sandusky won a competition to design this inaugural poster for the La Grange Farmers’ Market.   Limited edition copies are being sold as a fundraiser.

The Ripley County Farmers’ Market features fruits and vegetables, homemade items, flowers, plants and more from June to October at the Ripley County Fairgrounds, 524 W. Beech St., in Osgood. It is open from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays, and from 2:30-6 p.m. Wednesdays. A unique feature there is the old vintage camper, where local school kids sell their homemade items. Called the Tin Can Market, the camper features such items as soaps, cupcakes and suckers.
The Rising Sun Farmers’ Market is open from May to October at Main and Walnut Streets from 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturdays.
The Scott County Farmers’ Market is open at the Scottsburg Heritage Station Train Depot parking lot from May to October. It is open from 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays, and from noon to 5 p.m. Thursdays.
The Vevay-Switzerland County Farmers’ Market is on Main Cross Street next to the Courthouse from June to October. It is open from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, and from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays.

The Ohio County Farmers Market is downtown Rising Sun from mid-June through the growing season, beginning at 9 a.m. Saturdays.

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