By Suzannah Couch
for the Daily Journal
Every Sunday afternoon at the Nashville Farmers Market, you can find fresh produce, homemade goods such as shawls and raw honey, and even local cheese and meats.
“From a vendor perspective, we’re doing fantastic,” said Alley Muir, one of the market’s leaders.
“From a customer perspective, we’d really like to have some more community support.”
The market operates from noon to 3 p.m. Sundays in the parking lot of the Brown County Inn. It’s scheduled to run through Oct. 29.
“The community was really excited at the beginning,” Muir said. “We know with fall coming and people going back to school, it makes it harder to get out there on the weekends, but the vendors are out there and they are ready to sell to people. There aren’t that many people coming anymore.”
Each week, at least five fresh produce producers are selling their goods. Some have started bringing in pumpkins and squash, Muir said.
A local meat producer sells pastured chicken, local beef and pork. In September, a man sold Alaskan salmon that he caught, packaged, froze and brought back to Indiana.
Goat cheese and goat milk soap are available from Risin’ Creek Creamery out of Martinsville.
Brown County fiber artist Sarah Dye sells ponchos, shawls and other creations she has handwoven and hand-dyed with local plants and botanical extracts. She uses natural yarns, organic cotton, raw silk and fine wools.
Dye also owns Schooner Creek Farm with her husband, Douglas Mackey, and the couple also sell fresh produce at the market.
Rasta Pops sells artisan ice pops, modeled after a similar treat in owner Iuri Santos’ native country of Brazil. Santos and his family decided to open the gourmet ice pop cart in Bloomington and it has since expanded to Brown County.
Linneas Greenhouse offers a wide variety of indoor and outdoor plants, while local Kara Hammes sells hand-printed t-shirts, wreaths and wooden vases.
Muir is co-market master with Elizabeth Voland, a baker who sells gluten-free and regular varieties of bread, scones and cookies.
“She takes the wheat and grinds it herself. It’s very original. She makes everything herself. She makes it truly from scratch,” Muir said.
Muir said Voland is a “perfect example” of how a farmers market can bring about entrepreneurship in the community.
“She wasn’t doing this before, because she couldn’t take the monetary risk of opening up a bakery. But with having a market available, the space, she’s really been able to expand her skills and start bringing in additional income into her family. That’s just fantastic,” she said.
Muir said it’s important to have a local farmers market in the community because Brown County is a “food desert.”
“(A food desert is) when people do not live in walking distance from fresh produce. Brown County is full of food deserts,” Muir said.
Most vendors pick produce the day of the market, so it’s more healthful than store-bought food, she said. “You’re getting so much more nutrients in your produce, and it’s going to last longer. It’s really a better deal for the customer to come to the market.”
Shopping at a farmers market also supports the local economy, Muir said, “even if it’s just coming to buy one thing that you know you’re going to need that week, whether it’s bread, or coming to support by buying a tea and listen to local music that we have playing.”
Muir said she is afraid to see the market “take a step backwards” if it doesn’t get more costumer support.
In August, the market managers successfully petitioned county government to lower the permit price for vendors of temperature-controlled items at farmers markets. It’s now $25; it had been about $1,300 for the season.
“We’ve had a lot of people tell us they’ve waited a long time for a farmers market and it’s always been an uphill battle. We’ve made so many gains this season with getting the licensing changes so that meat can actually be sold,” Muir said.
She said it’s also important to prove to the vendors that coming to set up is worth their time.
“We’ve got to prove that Nashville is worth it; Nashville deserves a farmers market,” Muir said.
“This is the time we have to step up.”
Noon to 3 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 29, On Oct. 15, the market will have a kids’ day with free activities for children, including a bounce house and face painting.
Nashville Farmers Market is hosting a photo contest. The winner will receive a $20 gift
card to use at the market. To enter, post your market photos by Oct. 16 on the market’s
Facebook page. Photos can also be sent by email for market organizers to post online.
Are you a local artist, farmer or gardener who wishes to sell your goods at the Nashville
Farmers Market? Do you want to participate in an upcoming holiday market? Learn more by going to the market’s Facebook page “Nashville Farmers Market” or email market organizers at firstname.lastname@example.org.