You won’t find any sweet corn yet, but there’s plenty of fresh produce available at local farmers markets.
The Greenwood Farmers Market, at Greenwood United Methodist Church on North Madison Avenue, opened for the season late last month. The Franklin Farmers Market, at Jackson and Jefferson streets, opens Saturday.
Despite it being early in the growing season, expect to find fresh-cut flowers, eggs, meat, lettuce, onions, radishes, a few berries and bedding plants. Non-vegetable offerings include baked goods, honey, syrup, jams, candles, fabric crafts and art. Often, you’ll hear a local musician offering a mini concert for shoppers.
All items are either grown or produced locally. This means your purchases have a direct impact on the local economy. There is no middle man.
The state will give farmers markets a little boost this year and in years to come. During this year’s legislative session, the General Assembly approved the Indiana Grown Initiative. The measure is intended to promote locally grown agricultural products, such as meats and vegetables, and to encourage local businesses to sell more products from within the state.
Farmers markets are an old idea. Franklin built an open-sided barn around 1850 to accommodate local farmers bringing items to town to sell to city residents. Today’s markets bring both full-time and hobby farmers, giving both an outlet for their goods.
If you go
What: Franklin Farmers Market
Where: Parking lot at Jackson and Jefferson streets in downtown Franklin
Hours: 8 to 11 a.m. Saturdays through Oct. 4
What: Greenwood Farmers Market
Where: 525 N. Madison Ave., Greenwood United Methodist Church
Hours: 8 a.m. to noon
Information: Email greenwood firstname.lastname@example.org
But there is more to it than simple economics. There are health and nutrition aspects, too. For example, most of the growers at the local markets use far less pesticides and herbicides on their plants than many commercial farms. Consumers looking for chemical-free produce can talk directly to the growers and find out how the plants are grown.
Also, supermarkets often carry only produce that transports well. This means that some nutritionally superior types of vegetables aren’t available because they can’t be shipped easily or can’t be grown in a large enough scale to make it commercially viable. Local growers, though, can grow and sell superior varieties.
Finally, patronizing local growers makes good sense because the money stays home. The produce is locally grown and locally marketed.
One of the vendors in Greenwood put it best when she said, “People need to support their local food source and teach children what to look for in produce. Plus, for those with a green thumb, it’s a good chance to make some extra money.”