Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

May 6, 2014

Markets boast freshest crops

Debbie Blank The Herald-Tribune
The Batesville Herald-Tribune

---- — There are so many reasons to shop at five area farmers’ markets, which are poised to open (please see box for specifics).

“Produce is the freshest and tastiest around. It comes directly from the farm and is in season,” points out Sarah Robinson, executive director of Main Street Greensburg, which oversees the Greensburg/Decatur County Farmers’ Market. “Food purchased at the market is minimally processed and, therefore, more nutritious.” She adds that shoppers are even protecting the environment. “Foods grown for the market travel much less distance than food at the grocery store and is generally grown using methods that minimize the environmental impact on the earth. Also, there is no packaging, which equals less trash.”

By purchasing items at a market, “you are helping a neighbor while they are helping you,” says Carla Hacker, a Sunman Area Chamber of Commerce director who is in charge of the Sunman Area Farmers’ Market. “Plus the prices are reasonable.”

Market master Ann Salatin of the Batesville Farmers’ Market, a program of the Food & Growers Association of Laughery Valley and Environs, observes it’s a time to socialize, “meet with friends and make new ones. It is always an educating experience to be surrounded by passionate people who are contributing to the local economy.”

In Osgood, at first consumers can expect to find late spring and early summer vegetables – including some new varieties of favorites – plus eggs and local honey, predicts Ripley County Farmers’ Market contact person Arlene Knudson.

In addition to crops, the Brookville site, overseen by the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service, will offer handcrafted items, breads, barn quilts, flowers, meats and jams, says Bob O’Bryan, who is working hard with Darlene Kohlsdorf, Joann Koch and Gary and Elaine Dorrel “to make this the best market we’ve ever had.”

In Batesville, there will be some new specialty booths, starter plants, home-baked goods, fine arts and crafts, kale, leeks, various specialty squash, cantaloupe, tree fruits and heirloom tomato varieties.

Sunman will have “definitely more vendors” and could look like an outdoor bakery, with homemade rolls, pies and cookies expected, according to Hacker.

What’s new at the markets this season? Second Fridays will be magical in Greensburg. Free fitness classes are scheduled starting at 3:30 p.m. on the adjacent courthouse lawn, hosted by the Decatur County Family YMCA. That’s followed by a downtown Junk in the Trunk event from 4-8 p.m. At dusk, Main Street Greensburg will host a free outdoor summer movie series on the lawn. “We encourage everyone to bring a blanket or lawn chair,” Robinson says.

The Brookville market will feature live music, free hot dogs and drinks, a drawing for a farmers’ market gift certificate and many new vendors. Batesville residents willing to become local foods ambassadors should contact Salatin. The Ripley County market has a new Osgood location.

More special events will keep the markets lively. “The annual Batesville Farmers’ Market Breakfast is always popular,” Salatin reports. A Farm-to-School Day – this year featuring kale – and a Kids’ Bucks Day, when children ages 3-8 receive free dollar coupons to spend with any vendor, will be later in the season. “We want to put a face with local food. We hope to have some educational demonstrations ... and various entertainment.” Individuals or groups that can help out should contact her.

The Sunman market’s opening weekend will coincide with Sunman Daze. Hacker explains, “We come together as a town and encourage community garage sales, business open houses and Grillin’ with Bill” Craig at FCN Bank. “It’s starting to grow.”

“Each week the (Brookville) market will be highlighting our youth in the community and small businesses. There also will be weekly free demonstrations by vendors, Purdue Extension and other interested people in our community,” O’Bryan says. Small businesses, vendors, demonstrators, musicians and youth who would like to showcase their talents should talk to organizers on a market day or call Kohlsdorf or Koch.

Some sellers will help the disadvantaged. Batesville, Brookville and Greensburg vendors will be able to redeem Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program EBT benefit tokens and a few are approved to honor WIC coupons. Most Osgood vendors are WIC approved.

Each market has its own rules. In Sunman, crops “must be grown in southeastern Indiana or southwestern Ohio and be sold by the persons who produced the crops or their representatives. No bulk produce market buyers or third party vendors are permitted.” Batesville rules state vendors’ products must be Indiana grown. No “second sale” foods or crafts are allowed. In Greensburg, “we require that everything sold has a local element to it. Produce must be grown locally. Value-added items, such as jams, must use at least one locally grown ingredient,” according to Robinson.

Some growers have to pay to sell. In Batesville, “potential vendors may register for the market and pay a single season fee.” They should stop by the market master booth or call Salatin.

In Greensburg, “we do not charge vendors to set up. However, we do require that they submit an application form, which can be found on our Web site or by contacting us directly,” the executive director notes. “This year we also have a $25 co-op advertising option for vendors who wish to have their contact information, listing of their products and photo included on a flyer and vendor listing on the Web site. This information allows customers who can’t make it to the market to pre-order items from their favorite vendor and pick them up quickly.”

Brookville, Osgood and Sunman markets have no fees.

Debbie Blank can be contacted at debbie.blank@batesvilleheraldtribune.com or 812-934-4343, Ext. 113.

Area farmers' markets • Batesville Farmers' Market, Batesville Shopping Village parking lot near Main-Boehringer intersection, Saturdays, May 17-Oct. 18, 8-11 a.m. Info: Ann Salatin, 812-528-3538, batesvillefarmersmarket@hotmail.com; www.foodandgrowers.org • Brookville Farmers' Market, Noble's Variety Store under pavilion awning, South Main Street, Brookville, Fridays, May 16-Oct. 17, 3:30-7 p.m. Info: Darlene Kohlsdorf, 513-479-3133; or Joann Koch, 765-265-2685 • Greensburg/Decatur County Farmers' Market, downtown courthouse lawn south side, Fridays, May 9-Oct. 31, 2-6 p.m. Info: Info: 812-222-0037, execdirector@mainstreetgreensburg.com; www.mainstreetgreensburg.com • Ripley County Farmers' Market, 125 S. Buckeye St., Osgood, Saturdays, June 6-Oct. 24, 8 a.m.-noon; Wednesdays, July 9-Sept. 24, 2:30-5:30 p.m. Info: Arlene Knudson, 812-689-4718, aknudson1@me.com • Sunman Area Farmers' Market, former Nedderman Feed Mill, North Meridian Street downtown, Fridays beginning May 30, 3-6 p.m.; Saturdays beginning May 31, 8-11 a.m. Info: Carla Hacker, 812-623-8900, chacker@fcnbank.com.