By Gus Pearcy
Fresh produce and homemade baked goods, meats, soaps and lotions, food trucks, kid activities, plants, desserts and more fill booths at local farmers markets.
The popular outdoor events happen in several Hendricks County communities and abundantly offer produce and products. Shoppers can find farmers markets open just about any night of the week across the county.
For the most up-to-date information, visit each town’s Facebook page.
New this year shoppers can find vegan options among the produce and products, said Delbert Harmon, Avon Parks and Recreation Department spokesman.
“We do about 500 (patrons) by the first hour,” he said. “We stay pretty busy.”
The Avon Farmers Market is 4-7 p.m. on Tuesdays at 8244 E. U.S. 36, the parking lot in front of the Hendricks Regional Health Avon Medical Center.
There will be special events scheduled throughout the year, like a doggy treat to the first 50 attendees, but not all of those have been planned.
Harmon said the market gives residents a sense of community and promotes health.
“To me, the most important thing is giving the community a chance to have fresh produce from local farmers,” he said. “That’s why we started one.”
The Brownsburg Farmers Market has food trucks and hand-made clothing vendors as well as fresh produce and activities for kids through the parks department and library. It runs 4-7 p.m.every Thursday on the grounds in front of town hall through Sept. 30. Philip Cornelius, community recreation manager, said the market hosts 31 vendors ranging from eggs to homemade treats.
There are even tables for picnics provided by the town. They were gone last year, but Cornelius said they’ll be back this year.
Brownsburg limits local businesses to specific dates, but otherwise anything goes. There is a nonprofit night and a Chamber of Commerce night.
“That’s when we allow businesses to come in and share their messages but not on a consistent basis,” he said.
The best thing, according to Cornelius, is seeing familiar faces.
“We have a very loyal customer base that are excited to see all their favorite vendors each week, and our vendors are excited to see them,” Cornelius said.
Danville hosts the only Hendricks County farmers market on the weekend and runs 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday through Sept. 4. This market starts the earliest, too. It’s been going since Mother’s Day weekend.
Kelly DiBenedetto, Danville Chamber of Commerce executive director, said this means more customers and better results for the vendors.
The market has always been on the Historic Courthouse Square, but this year it shifted from Jefferson Street to Washington Street. DiBenedetto said the move allows the Square to stay open on Jefferson.
“We had some businesses request it to be on Washington,” she said. “We have actually grown to where we take up that backside of the Square.”
There are at least 27 vendors, and it’s the place for popcorn and frozen dog treats.
Kristi Vaughn started the North Salem Farmers Market just three years ago. It runs 5-7:30 p.m. Thursday evenings until Sept. 16. The popular market starts at 5 W. Pearl St. and then goes all along the main drag.
“The town is very, very supportive of this,” she said. “We’re moving towards our local businesses and trying to help them out as much as possible by continuing to bring in customer base and foot traffic. If it comes where we take up the whole road, they’ll give us permission to block off a side road. We have plenty of room to grow.”
Although Vaughn expects the market to grow, currently there are 16 vendors. Last year, the
local ice cream shop was open to business on Thursdays. She said there are many events in and around the market itself.
“Once a month, we will be doing benefit meals,” she said. “It’s a free-will donation.”
There’s also live music and kiddie train rides each week. Vaughn says the market is WIC certified for voucher use.
The Pittsboro version is 5:30-7:30 p.m. Wednesdays in the parking lot of the Pittsboro United Methodist Church.
“That’s gone really well for us,” said Scott Smith, Pittsboro Parks Department spokesman. “You’re right on (Indiana) 136 so you get a lot of drive through traffic in Pittsboro. It’s really paid off for us.”
Again, the market has about 25-30 vendors from fresh flowers to baked goods, and Smith said produce will be coming in a couple of weeks. He estimates a couple hundred people come each week.
The first week of the month music is provided free of charge by a local DJ, and there are some giveaways from the vendors. The third Wednesday of each month is a showcase for nonprofits who are allowed to set up a booth for free among the sellers.
“It’s a way to give back to the community,” he said. “It gives some of the smaller groups a great way to get out in front of the community. The market is a resource for the residents and a great community event,” Smith said. “Everything tastes a little better when it’s fresh,” Smith added.
The market goes through the end of September, and September hours end at 7 p.m. because of the cooler temps and sunless hours.
The Plainfield Farmers Market is on the grounds of the Plainfield Friends Church at the corner of Avon Ave. and U.S. 40. The historic church grounds offer mature trees and shade, said Jamie Bryant, the market master for the Plainfield Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s a fabulous place to have it because we are the only market in the county that has shade,” Bryant said. “We take pride in that,” she said with laughter.
Before then, the market was on the parking lot of the chamber building, which was small.
“We have a lot of new vendors, so we will have a variety of new things for people to choose from,” Bryant said. “Everyone is really excited about getting back to normal.”
This market runs 4-7 p.m. every Wednesday, rain or shine, through Sept. 15.