BATESVILLE — One new area farmers’ market will open for the first time later this month, joining four other well-established ones.
The Sunman Area Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the Sunman Farmers’ Market and getting it going, reports chamber President Carla Hacker.
“We know there’s a lot of those things going on around us, but it will be nice to have a stop right here .... to serve our area.
“It will support our local economy, and we encourage people to come into Sunman and shop the farmers’ market, take a look around and visit other businesses and see what we have .... It will also be a wonderful way to support your community and meet your neighbors,” she points out.
When the Batesville Farmers’ Market first opens, “there will be early season crops, flowers and some plant starts,” says market master Patty Reding.
Bob O’Bryan, Brookville Farmers’ Market manager, also predicts homemade foods and crafts being available there in mid-May.
Arlene Knudson, Ripley County Farmers’ Market contact person, expects to see a wide variety of produce when the market first opens, including cabbage, cucumbers, beets, zucchini, radishes and possibly potatoes, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes, broccoli and green onions.
Bryan Robbins, Main Street Greensburg executive director, who is in charge of the Greensburg/Decatur County Farmers’ Market, believes there will also be “fresh baked goods, locally raised meats and eggs and delicious jams and jellies to top it all off.”
The Greensburg, Batesville and Brookville markets received a Farmers’ Market Promotion Program grant “to enable each to accept SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) credits at the markets. Participants will be able to run their EBT (electronic benefit transfer) cards for tokens to be used exclusively at the markets,” he adds.
The grant dollars “will be used to equip the markets with processing equipment, a designated location for the transactions to be made and training for the market masters. Funds will also be used for marketing and promoting the new service.”
All of the markets except Sunman’s also have the ability to accept Women Infants and Children and/or senior citizen vouchers.
Each has a different rule about where crops are grown. Batesville produce must be raised in Indiana. “We do not accept second-sale products .... (and) craft items must be made by the individuals,” Reding reveals.
At the Osgood site, “the seller must also be the grower. There’s no buying and reselling,” stresses Knudson. Nonfood items are not allowed.
In Greensburg, “anything sold at the market must be raised/created by the vendor,” Robbins announces. “Crafts must be approved by the market committee, but decorative plants are allowed.”
Brookville crops must be grown within a two-county area connected to Franklin County. In Sunman, all produce must be raised in southeastern Indiana. Other edible goods also will be accepted.
Some growers have to pay to sell. Batesville has a registration fee, which provides membership to the Food and Growers Association of Laughery Valley and Environs, which supports the market. In Sunman, there will also be a small fee, which will in turn be used to advertise the market.
O’Bryan notes, “We will not have a set-up fee, but we need to have liability coverage. We are looking at a few ways to get this settled.”
Several markets are offering special events or promotions. The Brookville manager reports, “We expect to have arts, music, demonstrations and other activities that will create a festive atmosphere .... We have a good base of people who are determined to make this a fun and successful endeavor. We also welcome anyone who wants to help us make this possible.”
Reding says if there is cold or inclement weather in May, the market will be moved to the former Taff Building on the corner of Main and George streets. Also, on a trial basis during July and August, the FGA will be asking “local food and agriculture businesses if they want to pay to be a sponsor for a Saturday morning. They can’t sell their products, but can promote them.”
In Greensburg, “we’re continuing our Second Friday events (May through October), which include fun activities for the kids during the market, live music in the late afternoon, new shows at the art gallery and free outdoor movies at dusk,” reveals Robbins.
“There is no purer form of entrepreneurship and commerce than a farmers’ market. It’s also the best means of keeping your money local while getting the freshest and healthiest products available.”
Diane Raver can be contacted at 812-934-4343, Ext. 114; or diane.raver@ batesvilleheraldtribune.com.