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Market Mania

’Tis the season to visit area
Farmers Markets in the region

Many have become social hubs
with music, food options

(June 2018) – Start your Saturday with a delicious breakfast at the Madison, Ind., Farmers Market, the oldest continuous farmers market in the state of Indiana. Kim & Jo’s Concessions food truck is serving favorites such as omelets, egg sandwiches and biscuits with gravy, plus special treats such as cinnamon rolls and Belgian waffles with strawberries. Umbrella tables make it easy to sit down in the shade and enjoy every bite. 

Photo by Sharyn Whitman

Chris and Theresa Hitchcock operate their Clear Creek Creations booth at the Madison (Ind.) Farmers Market. They make and sell delicious cookies, cinnamon rolls and cakes.

“The food truck is new to the Madison Farmers Market this year,” said Market Manager Sean Miller. “Lucille’s on the Go” food truck will fill in some dates throughout the summer as well. Food is available from 8 a.m. to noon each Saturday throughout the season that runs from May to October. About 30 vendors set up around the Broadway Fountain in the center of downtown Madison each Saturday offering an interesting variety of items. There is the usual fresh produce, plus bakery, eggs, plants, honey, soaps, jewelry and even dog treats. Farm-raised meat is also available on a rotating basis from several vendors.
Kim Newman, 49, originally worked as a school cafeteria manager. She recruited her mom, Jo Lynch, to apply for a vacant position in the cafeteria. They enjoyed working together so much that they began dreaming of starting their own business.
Newman and her mom designed every inch of their 34-foot mobile kitchen, drawing on their previous food services experience. Her dad, Jerry Lynch, was drafted to help implement the design as Kim & Jo’s Concessions became a reality two years ago.

Photo by Sharyn Whitman

Art Lander  displays his wooden bowls and other items at the La Grange, (Ky.) Farmers Market.

Newman is so committed to the Madison Farmers Market that she arrives about 6:30 a.m. Saturday, sets up the street barricades on Broadway Street and starts prepping food. She is always ready to open no later than 8 a.m. 
Reasonably priced great food is Newman’s passion. A family with children should be able to enjoy a satisfying breakfast for about $20. And then there’s lunch. Late morning shoppers can choose from hot dogs, chili dogs, corn dogs, Polish sausage, loaded baked potatoes, ham wraps, sub sandwiches, pretzels and cheese or “walking” tacos. This family business can expand as needed when Newman recruits her husband, Allen, and son, Greg, to help. The entire family enjoys traveling and working together. 
“Madison has been wonderful to us, and Sean Miller is exceptional,” said Newman. The city has provided extra trash cans as needed. Individual shoppers thank her for bringing the food truck, and even the neighbors living along Broadway have been kind and helpful.
Miller noted that good food is an important part of a successful farmers market, and a hot breakfast brings shoppers out early. Miller has also arranged for volunteer musicians to perform, (weather permitting).  Musicians have found that shoppers generously show their appreciation through donations to their tip jar.
June 30 will be “Kids Day” at the Madison Market. Kids will be able to work on a craft project, enjoy a special story time and kid-friendly music. Miller is working to add other special events each month. She is also planning to feature local non-profit organizations to increase their visibility in the community. There is a need for more produce vendors as fresh produce sells out quickly. Meat vendors rotate, offering pork, lamb, beef and chicken, as well as eggs.

Photo by Sharyn Whitman

Sarah Jackson operates Boone Creek Creamery, which produces and sells grilled cheeses.

One of the meat vendors for the past five years is Nightfall Farms, owned by Nate and Liz Brownlee.
“One of the things we love about the market in Madison is that the setting by the Broadway fountain is ideal,” Liz Brownlee said. “It is the perfect place for community. Everyone is welcome and wants to spend time there.”
Nightfall Farms offers eggs plus freezer packaged chicken, lamb and pork. The meat is available both for on the spot purchases and as a regular pick-up through a CSA (community sponsored agriculture) plan. The CSA plan involves an upfront payment for a set amount of meat over a six-month time period. Brownlee delivers the monthly meat order to the Madison market for convenient pickup by the customer. This type of plan is much easier for the customer because buying a large amount of meat at one time requires a large freezer for storage of that bulk purchase.
Between breakfast and lunch, shoppers can find a mid-morning snack at the Clear Creek Creations booth featuring homemade treats. Theresa Hitchcock bakes large, soft, peanut butter cookies, oatmeal cookies and caramel chocolate chip cookies. Cinnamon rolls, blueberry crumb cake, and pineapple upside down cake, are all so beautifully displayed that it makes it hard to decide. Her husband, Chris, spoke up for his favorite peanut butter cookies, and was quick to recommend the cinnamon coffee cake as well.

Photo by Sharyn Whitman

Elaine Mancini of La Grange, Ky., staffs the Q&A Sweet Treats booth for her daughter and business owner, Andrea Essenpries.

Just in case shoppers are walking a dog or thinking about their beloved pet at home, Dawn Cleary has made sure that snacks are available for pets. After her favorite store for pet treats closed, Cleary took matters into her own hands and started making treats for her dog. Soon she had expanded to a full line of treats, cookies and cupcakes – all for dogs. Her booth is called “The Blue Cerebus Dog Bakery.”
The Madison Farmers Market is open 8 a.m. - noon Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays through October. Visit www.farmersmarketmadison.com.

La Grange, Ky., Farmers Market opens season

Across the Milton-Madison Bridge and a short drive through the rolling Kentucky countryside, the La Grange Farmers Market is conveniently located around the Oldham County Courthouse Square in LaGrange Kentucky. The courthouse lawn and surrounding sidewalks provide ample space for the market, including a large gazebo that provides shelter for the musicians. 
Hungry shoppers can start at the booth for Q&A Sweet Treats. Scones in several flavors such as cherry almond, raspberry and blueberry are the first temptation, followed by muffins and whoopie pies. Rustic Italian bread and braided challah breads are among the breads displayed. Elaine Mancini enjoys helping her daughter, owner Andrea Essengreis, by working the booth on Saturdays as well as baking the artisanal breads. Q&A Sweet Treats also operates a bakery and dessert café in La Grange. 
Samples of cheese are available at the booth operated by Boone Creek Creamery. Sarah Jackson, a college student working in the booth, explained how to grill a small slab of “grillin’ cheese” on aluminum foil, just until it is soft and almost melted. Ed Puterbaugh is the master cheesemaker of the handmade artisan cheeses.

Photo by Sharyn Whitman

Dawn Cleary sells pets treats and items at her Blue Cerebus booth at the Madison (Ind.) Farmers Market.

Sustainably grown meat, vegetables and plants are offered for sale at the Magic Acres Farm booth, owned by Joyce and Grant Abbott. The tender fresh asparagus, kohlrabi and other greens offered early in the season are greenhouse raised, Grant Abbott explained. Another regular market vendor in the next booth, is Sherwood Acres Beef, owned by Jon Bednarski. This freezer beef is lean Belted Galloway beef, raised without hormones and steroids, which is available in a variety of custom cuts.   
Unique gifts are also available at booths in the farmers market. Bonnie and Art Lander sell “Holy Branch Gourds” walking sticks and beautiful hand turned wooden bowls. Art proudly explained that some of Bonnie’s intricately painted folk art gourds have been featured at the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife. Art creates the hand turned wooden bowls and works the booth on Saturdays. 
Delightful dresses for young girls are designed and stitched by Lesa Pickinpaugh, owner of Lulu Frank & Co. She enjoys working with various fabrics and designs to create one-of-a-kind little dresses. One of the dresses featured French knot embroidery stitches in the design on the bodice of the dress. 
The “Essentially Hemp” booth offers products developed and produced on the farm of Phyllis and John E. Smith. Their seventh generation family tobacco farm has been converted to grow hemp. To properly process the hemp, Phyllis used her laboratory background to develop the processes to extract the essential oils used in their CBD products. A commercial laboratory evaluates the purity and potency of the oils she has extracted to ensure the quality of their products, which include CBD oil, balms and soaps.
The LaGrange Farmers Market is open 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturdays October. Visit www.lagrangefarmersmarket.com.

River View Farmers Market in Carrollton, Ky.

Up river in Carrollton, Ky., the River View Farmers Market is open Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the spacious parking lot of Hometown Pizza on Hwy. 227. Although River View is a smaller market at nine vendors, it is known for fresh vegetables and fruit throughout the season. Market President Mandy Parker has been involved for almost 10 years.
“The weather pushed the growing season back about three weeks for local farmers, but the market will be in full swing in June. Early tomatoes and other greenhouse crops are available now and sell out quickly,” Parker said.
Parker Farms produces tomatoes, sweet corn, beans, squash, zucchini okra, broccoli and cabbage. Later in the season, blackberries, watermelons and pumpkins will be available. Beef, pork and lamb are available year-round. Other vendors also offer vegetables as well as homemade jams and honey.
A Saturday morning visit to a local farmers market is always an adventure. The vendors and booths described above are only a small sample of the variety of items offered for sale at local farmers markets. Hot breakfast, bakery and snacks provide an immediate reward. Visit each booth to look for treasures in unusual food, fresh produce, eggs and meat or to find a special gift. Starting with a scenic drive on a beautiful day, great food, live music and the opportunity to connect with friends, that Saturday morning adventure becomes the beginning of a perfect weekend.  
The River View Farmers Market in Carrollton open 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wednesdays on Second Street, and from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Hometown Pizza parking lot. For more information, call Christin Herbst, Extension Agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Carroll County Coop Extension Services, at (502) 732-7030.

Many communities sponsor local farmers markets. The following websites list current farmers markets by state and city: www.farmersmarketonline.com and www.localfarmmarkets.org.

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