As an avid #EatLocal advocate, I love attending a summertime farmer’s market to support local growers and artisans. For me, it’s quite exciting to see how the products and food items change availability as the season moves along. One minute you are fighting for asparagus and the next you are comparing heirloom tomato prices. Personally, I love finding the unique gems. Garlic scapes, anyone?
This summer, I have decided to make my way around the area farmer’s markets…mainly NW Indiana/Central Indiana and possibly lower Michigan or Chicago. Each market is so different from the next: products and people. Already, I have made some wonderful connections with farmers in my area who I never knew existed! Priceless stuff, right there. My aim is to do a light review of each farmer’s market I’m able to visit, that way, you can decide which one might be best for you! Let’s start with two I have shopped over the past week.
Location: Corners of Garro and Rivers Streets (area behind old theater)
Frequency: Saturdays, May – October, 2014
Time: 7:30 to 11:30 am EASTERN
My Review: This was my first visit to this particular market. It’s hard to give a proper review as it’s still early in the season. The market is held in a beautiful, newer park area where many people mingle with family members and dogs. In center of the market area lies a shelter filled with picnic tables for you to rest or enjoy food items. On this day, I’m guessing there were about 15 vendors ranging from bakers, growers, craftors and produce sellers. There were several booths of Amish vendors selling plants & handmade wares. Some people were selling in season produce like onions ($1 bunch) , asparagus (Ranging in prices from $3 to $4 a lb.) and greens. Another vendor was selling off season produce, which tells me it was shipped in from somewhere else. I don’t care so much for that practice, however, I did buy cukes (2/$1) and bell peppers (3/$2) because they were cheaper than purchasing at the grocery store. One or two booths were selling local honey, which I will pick up on another visit. Thankfully, there was a pastured beef vendor selling many cuts of frozen meat, including ground beef for $3.75 a lb. The cattle are set out to pasture to eat grass but are also given grain. When I asked about the grain, they confirmed that the grain feed is NOT genetically modified. Right now, the majority of vendors seemed to be selling garden, herb and flower plants, but I was still quite pleased with what I brought home.
Location: Central Park Plaza, 63 Lafayette St. (1 block west of the Courthouse Square)
Frequency: Tuesdays & Saturdays, June 3 – September 30th, 2014
Time: Tues: 8am-2pm, Sat: 8am – Noon CENTRAL
Review: My first time visiting this market, which was also the first market day of the year. I’ve been told that Tuesday markets are smaller than Saturday markets, though everyone seemed to mention there were more vendors than usual. Offerings ranged from food options (pizza, Mexican, ice cream, kettle corn, protein balls) to garden & flower plants to handmade jewelry and wares to in-season produce (asparagus $2 lb, strawberries $3 qt, turnips, radishes, lettuces & greens, potato starts, fresh farm eggs $4 dz.) Several sustainable farmers were there with seasonal items along with frozen lamb meat from a local lamb farm. The center of the market area is grassy dotted with picnic tables, though there are no shaded areas. Central Park Plaza & Amphitheater is a newer park where you can rest on benches and let your children play in the splash pad to cool off. I really enjoyed meeting new people here and even ran into a few friends. Vending still seemed a bit small being early in the season.
Do you have an opinion on either of these two markets? If so, please share in the comments.