Market Sensibility

Paying a visit to these Hoosier farmers markets just makes good sense

By Jon Shoulders

The summer market season is officially here, and it’s time we crawl from our winter hibernation to take a look around. Actually, don’t just look. While you’re at it, you may want to hear, smell, and taste a few things at this year’s markets.

 Smell

Bloomington Community Farmers Market

Not sure where to begin at Bloomington’s sizeable Saturday market? Follow your nose and let your olfactory instincts guide you through the aromas of more than 100 farm and prepared-food vendors, including Spencer-based Harvest Moon Flower Farm, Uel Zing Coffee, Muddy Fork Bakery (Indiana’s only wood-fired, brick-oven bakery), American Mushroom & Spice Co., and Bloomington-based Chile Woman, who grows more than 2,000 chile pepper varieties.   

   Staples like produce, nuts and seeds, dairy and meat products are also available. A salsa contest as well as soup, apple and tomato tastings are planned for this season — visit the website for more info and an entertainment schedule.

Location: 401 N. Morton St. Contact info: (812) 349-3738, bloomington.in.gov/farmersmarket. Hours: Every Saturday from April through September from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Saturdays in October and November from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Season ends on the Saturday after Thanksgiving from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday market is held June through September from 4 to 7 p.m. at the corner of Sixth and Madison streets.

Taste  

New Albany Farmers Market

Savor the flavor of baked goods, meats and cheeses, oils and vinegars, crisp fruits and veggies, wines, honeys, and more at the New Albany market. Coordinator Susan Kaempler says the market has grown considerably in the past 12 years, and currently includes about 80 vendors in the summer as well as a flea market section.

   Satisfy your sweet tooth with cookies and cakes from Winnie’s Decedent Desserts — be sure to check out the lemon blueberry bread while you’re at it. “Rookie’s Cookies, another one of our current vendors, is addictive,” Kaempler says. “Their sugar cookies with icing are great — it’s tough to eat only one.”

Location: 202 E. Market St. Contact info: (502) 905-3640, newalbanyfarmersmarket.com. Hours: Every Saturday starting the second Saturday in May through October, from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Nov. 1 through the first weekend in May from 10 a.m. to noon. Also open from mid-June through mid-September on Wednesdays at Market Street location from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., and Tuesdays at Floyd Memorial Hospital (1850 E. State St.) from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Touch  

West Lafayette Farmers Market

Market Master Paul Foster says variety has become the name of the game at the West Lafayette market, and there’s plenty besides produce to get your hands on. “We value the diversity of the market, and even though the produce vendors are our bread and butter we’ve really enjoyed having our crafts and clothing people out,” Foster says. “We’ve also added some touches like wine available by the glass and live music every week.”

   Before loading up on your weekly greens, fruits and dairy products, engage your tactile side by visiting a few art-and-craft vendors like Ohland Studios (jewelry and decorations), Originals by Nana (hand-sewn children’s clothing and accessories) and Stir & Stitch (sewn baby products, bags, and totes).

Location: 3065 N. Salisbury St. Contact info: (765) 714-8024, wlfarmersmarket.com. Hours: Every Wednesday from May through October from 3:30 to 7 p.m.

See 

Fort Wayne Farmers Market

There’s a lot more than just edibles at the year-round Fort Wayne Farmers Market — keep your eyes peeled for unique and offbeat craft vendors like Kelly Pottery Design, a local producer of hand-carved pottery, artisan jewelry maker Buffalo Chip Creations and K1nd Goods, a local purveyor of upcycled cashmere and wool wearables. Make sure the kids come away with some visual styling as well — swing by the Let Me Entertain You tent for a serious face painting session.

   You’ll also find just about any food category you might wish for, including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free items from gourmet popcorn to cold-pressed juices to free-range meats. “The market is only five years old but has continued to grow, and I think it’s because it’s producer-only and has that local quality,” says Leigh Rowan, market coordinator and owner of Big Brick House Bakery in Fort Wayne. “And we love that it’s all year long, which helps the vendors out a great deal.”

Location: Outdoor market held at the corner of Wayne and Barr streets. Indoor market located at Parkview Field near the corner of Webster Street and West Douglas Avenue. Contact info: ftwaynesfarmersmarket.com. Hours: Every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Indoor market held from beginning of October through May 21; outdoor market runs from May 21 through September.

Hear

Original Farmers Market at the Indianapolis City Market

This year marks the Indianapolis City Market’s 20th anniversary of hosting a weekly farmers market, which was recently named one of USA Today’s top 50 markets throughout the nation. Live music is featured most weeks, including rock, folk, and blues acts. “I always enjoy performing at the City Market,” says Zionsville-based singer and songwriter Brett Wiscons, who is scheduled to perform at the market on June 28. “It’s a great way to get outside and perform for a diverse audience. I usually carve out time to hit the tamale stand as well.”

   Shop for meats, bread and pastries, veggies, sauces, homemade pies, and more while jamming to the sounds of local and regional performers.

Location: Downtown outside the City Market on Market Street, between Delaware and Alabama streets. Contact info: (317) 634-9266, indycm.com/farmers-market. Hours: Every Wednesday from May through October, 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Find Out More

·     To find out more about our local food systems, check out Purdue’s local food website.

·      For market manager, vendor, producer and consumer information and educational resources regarding Indiana farmers markets, visit the Hoosier Farmers Market Association official website.

·      Go here for a listing of farmers markets in Indiana by county or here for farmers markets all over the state. 

·      Information about Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) usage at Indiana farmers markets is available at on this site