Several vendors set up for the opening day of the revamped Seymour Area Farmers Market ran into a good problem Saturday.
In the first hour, a man selling cheese sold out of product.
About three hours in, a woman selling produce had just one table after starting with three.
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For the first market of the season, the vendors were happy to bring in revenue for themselves and be a part of a community event.
Amie Curlin with Sand Creek Produce in Reddington was the vendor who went from three tables full of produce to one.
“They made so much effort into making it a very good market,” Curlin said of market manager Celeste Bowman and the farmers market committee. “I really want it to succeed.”
Seymour has had a farmers market for many years, but the Hometown Collaboration Initiative and Vision 2025 programs resulted in changes being made to how it works.
Vision 2025’s promoting health committee chose improving the farmers market as a project, while the Greater Seymour Chamber of Commerce is overseeing Bowman’s part-time position through a newly formed committee with a goal of increasing the number of shoppers and vendors. Bowman is paid through an HCI grant.
Bowman said more than 15 of the nearly 30 vendors registered showed up Saturday. The variety of items included produce, beef, poultry, cheese, plants, flowers, baked goods, coffee, handwoven rugs, homemade dog treats, jewelry, books and crocheted hats and purses.
The vendor fee is $20 to set up through the last Saturday in October in the Walnut Street Parking Lot. Hours are 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. Special Market Saturday on the third Saturday in June, July, September and October will feature live music, food vendors and children’s activities.
Vendors also can set up from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. other days of the week except Sundays, but that will change in 2017.
“This year, we’re evaluating the market and hours,” Bowman said. “Based on the vendors’ and customers’ feedback, we’ll re-evaluate the hours next year.”
Seeing a steady flow of people visiting the market Saturday was a good way to start, Bowman said.
“It’s great to see the community response,” she said. “There has been a lot of people come through, a lot of positive response from the community. I hope it keeps growing.”
Dorinda Phillips of Seymour was among the vendors, selling pepper, cabbage, lettuce and tomato plants.
“I kind of overdid myself on planting my seeds. Every one of them came up this year,” she said, smiling.
On another table were fairy gardens she grows and designs. She has been doing that for about five years.
“I usually have a yard sale and sell them there. People love them,” she said. “It’s more time-consuming on your thinking of how to do them than it is to actually do them.”
Phillips said she was happy with the amount of business she had Saturday.
“I just thought it was good to get things out, let people see the different things I’ve got and join the group,” she said. “I love the people. I love the community. It’s just great.”
Next to Phillips was Maria Grove with Roller and Grove Farms LLC in Medora. Watermelon was a popular seller Saturday, but she said she will have beef at future markets.
This is the farm’s first year setting up at the farmers market.
“We know we have good, quality products here in Jackson County,” Grove said. “We’ve just got to get it out to the people, so this seemed like the best place. I think it will go over real well.”
Dee Carmichael of Brownstown was at her Beautiful Breads and More booth. She had freshly roasted coffee, personal pies, freshly milled whole wheat bread and white bread.
She uses Colombian Supremo coffee beans and roasts them fresh. People can purchase coffee whole bean or ground in a bag or by the cup.
“It’s going to be far fresher than anything they’ll get in the grocery store,” Carmichael said. “It’s on the lower side of the darker roast, but it’s very smooth.”
Carmichael and her husband, Dan, sell the coffee out of their home and have sold it at farmers markets in Seymour and Columbus in recent years.
“I think bringing in the crafters and everything is a really good thing, and the more vendors you have, the more people are brought in, so it’s good for everyone,” she said. “We really appreciate being a part of the community and being out here to get to know people in the community as well as people being in touch with where their food comes from.”
Carmichael’s 15-year-old daughter, Bethany, sold crocheted hats and owl purses and jewelry. Bethany said she started crocheting about three years ago.
“My grandma crocheted a lot, and when she passed away, I inherited everything, so I taught myself as much as I could and picked up from anyone,” she said. “It’s relaxing, it’s enjoyable, a way to bring in a bit of income and a really fun way to be creative.”
She first sold the crocheted items at a garage sale two years ago.
“I was 13 years old, and it was when I made my first big buck,” she said, smiling. “Within three days, I had made $85.”
The lattice hats she makes are her own design.
“Having the open top really helps the girls with longer hair because I’ve had the problem several times with my thick hair that I want something to cover my ears, but my head will start sweating,” Bethany said.
She sells the hats for $5, but whenever she gets the chance, she donates some to people with cancer who have lost their hair.
“It’s kind of my own way of ministering to people,” she said.
Bethany said it takes about three hours to make an owl purse. Those are $8.
While most of her products are made for women, Bethany said she is working on some crocheted hats for guys.
In another area of the farmers market, Liz Brownlee of Nightfall Farm in Crothersville featured pasture-raised meat.
“We feed GMO-free feed, so it’s a natural feed,” she said. “We don’t use antibiotics or hormones, and most importantly, the animals are out on fresh grass and move to fresh pasture every day or two, so they are eating clover and grass and bugs and (receiving) sunshine and room to be pigs, room to be chickens.”
Brownlee has had a booth at the Columbus and Madison farmers markets for the past two years.
“We’ve seen a huge demand, and we’ve sold out both years so far,” she said. “We’re continuing to scale up to try to keep an inventory. I’ve almost sold out here today, which is great.”
Brownlee said she’s “incredibly excited” to have a market closer to home.
“We’re just delighted there’s a vibrant market in what we consider to be our homeplace,” she said. “I’m so impressed with the market. It has exceeded my expectations with the variety of products. The crowd that we’ve seen today has just been enthusiastic and interested and buying. All of those are good things.”
The Buck a Book wagon is another feature of the market. Books can be purchased for $1 or traded, while kids 18 and younger receive one free book. Donations also are accepted with money being split between the Friends of the Jackson County Public Library and the farmers market.
“It adds one more facet to the farmers market,” said Monica Boyer, who works for the library and serves with the friends group and farmers market committee.
Jane Graessle of Seymour stopped by the farmers market to purchase tomatoes from a business she regularly supports, Van Antwerp Farm Market.
“I think this is so good for the community, and I would hope that it would get to the point where the one in Columbus is where it draws people from all over,” she said. “I really hope that everything comes together for them. The new farm manager here, I know she will do a very good job, and the chamber has done a good job in promoting this. It will get better every time.”
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What: Seymour Area Farmers Market
When: 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays; Special Market Saturday, featuring live music, food vendors and children’s activities, will be on the third Saturday in June, July, September and October
Where: Walnut Street Parking Lot at the corner of Walnut Street and St. Louis Avenue in Seymour
Cost: $20 for vendors to set up now through the last Saturday of October (registration available at seymourchamber.com under the Farmers Market tab or by calling 812-522-3681); free for shoppers
Information: “Like” Seymour Area Farmers Market on Facebook; follow Twitter @SeymourFarmMkt and Instagram @seymourfarmmarket; email [email protected]