Madison Farmers’ Market moves indoors for the winter
Some vendors sell fresh produce from their greenhouses
(November 2020) – The Madison, Ind., Farmers Market is getting ready for colder weather as it prepares to move indoors for the next couple of months, beginning the first Saturday of November. The Market will be located inside Trinity United Methodist Church at 412 Main St. and will take place every Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon throughout November and December.
“We have a great variety of food during the winter. We’ll still have meat and a lot of seasonal root vegetables. One of our vendors sells fresh greens that they grow in their greenhouse,” said Jenny Mills, Farmers Market Manager. The Market will also offer canned and baked goods, as well as local honey.
“I love the surprise on people’s faces when they see what all can be grown in Indiana year-round,” said Liz Brownlee of Nightfall Farm in Jennings County, Ind. “When folks come to a Winter Market for the first time, they usually tell us how exciting it is to be able to eat local food year round.”
Liz and Nate Brownlee participate in the Madison Farmers Market year-round with produce and meat from their Jennings County, Ind., farm.
Brownlee and her husband, Nate, raise livestock on pasture on her family’s farm. Each year, they raise 1,800 meat chickens, 15-20 pigs, 15-20 lambs, a flock of ewes, 100 laying hens and 110 turkeys for Thanksgiving.
“Our goal is to rebuild the health of my family’s farm. That includes rebuilding the soil, encouraging wildlife and contributing to our food system here in southeast Indiana. We know that small farms are part of the solution for rural communities like ours, and we’re excited to be a part of the growing small farm community,” said Brownlee.
The Brownlees set up at the Madison Farmers Market weekly, offering different items for sale as the seasons change. “We raise our animals outside on green pastures, which means that our inventory is tied to the seasons. The only animals we keep on the farm over the winter are our laying hens and our ewes. In the summer, we often only have chicken, eggs and pork for sale. In the winter, we add lamb, a wider variety of pork and ground turkey,” she said.
The Brownlees also have a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), which she describes as a “subscription or membership program. Just like you’d buy a subscription to a magazine, you pay up front, then get a bundle of meat each month. We do pickup at the Farmers Market to encourage folks to buy lots of local food, and not just ours,” she said.
Those wishing to join the CSA can sign up for shares that include whole chicken, eggs, a bundle of lamb cuts and/or a bundle of pork. “Members get a discount off farmers market prices, which help them, and they get to be a part of a farm that they believe in. The CSA model also helps us have funds when we need them most and lets us know what to bring to the market,” said Brownlee.
“We really like that our CSA members get a share of the farm’s bounty all year. Folks join for six months at a time, so we get to know them, and we get to share our farm with them. Members can visit the farm, and we send out a monthly update that lets them get to know what’s happening on the farm that time of year. It’s a relationship that’s good for the members and the farmers.”
“Supporting the Farmers Market is basically supporting small business. It’s really important for us to have community support,” said Mills.
“We also have some great artisans at the Winter Market, who will be selling pottery, jewelry, purses and greeting cards. It’s a great place to do Christmas shopping.”
The Brownlees have been selling at the Madison Market for seven years, and Liz Brownlee has also served on the Market Advisory Committee for the past five years. “The Market absolutely helps our farm. We get to meet and learn from other farmers, and we get to sell our food. Our farm is a business, not a hobby, so it’s really important that the Market is growing and thriving,” she said.
• For more information, visit the website www.FarmersMarketMadison.com.
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