Farmers market vendors to meet: 2018 season set for May opening


After a successful season in 2017, the Seymour Area Farmers Market is gearing up for what organizers hope to be its best year yet.

Although the farmers market doesn’t open until May, registration for vendors begins next week.

A vendors organization meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the large meeting room at the Jackson County Public Library. All returning and new vendors and anyone interested in getting involved in or supporting the market may attend.

[sc:text-divider text-divider-title=”Story continues below gallery” ]

“We are excited to see some new faces this season, as well as the return of those who have already enjoyed the success of the market over the past couple of years,” said Carrie Smith, chairwoman of the farmers market committee.

Smith replaces Sara Bane, who completed her two-year commitment at the end of the 2017 season.

It was two years ago when the farmers market underwent a complete overhaul, which resulted in the hiring of a market manager and increased the number of vendors and customers.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Smith plans to talk about vendor requirements, registration fees, market hours and highlight other important information and changes happening this year.

Farmers market committee members and representatives from Purdue Extension Jackson County and the Jackson County Health Department will be available to answer questions. All vendors must be approved by the health department to sell at the market.

Vendors will be able to register and pick up a copy of the handbook. The deadline to register is April 6.

By adding local sponsors and creating a Friends of the Farmers Market group, there is additional funding available this year for advertising, Smith said. Major sponsors of last year’s market included Schneck Medical Center, Premier Companies, JCB, Aisin, Lannett and CrossFit Seymour.

Sheryl Burke of Seymour makes and sells dog treats at the farmers market and said the recent changes and increased marketing efforts have made more people aware of all the market has to offer.

“The increase in publicity certainly helped increase customer attendance at the market,” she said.

Last year, customer support for the market was high. During peak Saturdays, the farmers market drew almost 700 customers, and more than 20 vendors regularly sold fresh, local food from May to October.

Smith said the market again will be active on social media to help get more people engaged and connected to healthy food options.

“It is nice to be able to read comments that our customers leave on Facebook,” Smith said. “It gives us a good feel for what we are doing right and what we could improve.”

The market began accepting SNAP or food stamp benefits last season, and that service will continue this year. By accepting SNAP, the market is providing access to fresh, organic food to people who might not be able to shop at the farmers market otherwise, Smith said.

“We had a handful of people take advantage of their SNAP benefits last season, and we are pleased to continue offering this service to the community,” she said.

Special third Saturday market days will continue to have expanded offerings, including children’s activities, live music and cooking demonstrations. They are scheduled to begin in June and run through September.

Tricia Bowers and her husband, Dennis, have sold items from the Plumer and Bowers Farmstead near Cortland at the market the past couple of years. They offer a variety of food, including beef, eggs, flour and popcorn.

“Our family is so pleased with the advertising, the attendance and the interest our community has in the market,” Tricia said.

Another feature added to the market two years ago was a book wagon. As a partnership with Friends of the Jackson County Public Library, the book wagon provided children with a free book each time they visited the market. Customers also could purchase books for $1 apiece with proceeds benefiting the market and the library.

Vendor Jo Boehlke sold homemade baked goods at the market last year and said she loves that the market offers more than just produce. She appreciates the book wagon as a way to promote literacy in the community.

“We love the book wagon and hope that it stays at the market for many, many years,” she said.

Liz Brownlee and her husband, Nate, own and operate Nightfall Farm in Crothersville, selling whole chickens, pork, lamb, turkey and eggs. Although they sell at other farmers markets in Columbus and Madison, they are seeing the most success in Seymour.

“This one is now officially the most exciting, hopeful, ambitious and happening,” Liz said. “I can’t wait to see what waits ahead.”

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”If you go” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

What: Vendors meeting for the Seymour Area Farmers Market 2018 season

When: 5:30 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Large meeting room at the Jackson County Public Library, 303 W. Second St., Seymour


No posts to display