Residents support local farmers market on opening day


Saturday was the kickoff to a fresh, new season at the Seymour Area Farmers Market with a few changes.

With health and safety guidelines in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a good turnout for opening day, and the smiles behind the face masks were evident of both vendors and marketgoers.

Market attendees appeared to be happy to have the opportunity to be shopping outdoors, and the vendors were glad to oblige.

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

Click here to purchase photos from this gallery

Guidelines were put in place by Purdue Extension and the Indiana State Department of Health for farmers markets and essential food operators for the health and safety of everyone, said Carrie Smith, market committee chairwoman.

This meant some changes had to be made at the market, sponsored by Schneck Medical Center and located in the Walnut Street Parking Lot just south of the railroad tracks.

Vendors were required to wear face masks and customers were not, but some marketgoers felt more comfortable wearing masks in public.

Only items declared essential were available, including agricultural products like meat, eggs, produce and plants.

Food for both people and pets were allowed, too, but consumption of the food while at the market was prohibited.

To aid with social distancing, places where people would normally gather, such as picnic tables, the Book Wagon, kids’ crafts and live music, will not be available this season.

Homemade crafts and products were not allowed for sale with the exception of soap, hygiene products and face masks.

Masks were sold at two booths: Purple Shamrock Farm and LivieMae Candles.

One attendee at the market was Kimberly Jewell, a former Seymour resident currently living in Ogilville.

“I’m in town today to visit my parents,” she said. “I’m looking for face masks and also some fresh baked goods.”

Jewell was perusing the LivieMae Candles table, operated by Olivia Murphy of Seymour.

“I normally sell candles and wax melts, which is what I had originally signed up to do,” Murphy said. “My husband and I just got back from Vietnam a few months ago, and when we got back home, we noticed there weren’t any masks around here.”

Murphy said she immediately purchased a sewing machine and began making masks.

About that time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its recommendation and suggested people wear masks in public just in case they were asymptomatic.

“We started making masks, and I didn’t have time to make candles,” she said. “I didn’t know they’d sell so well, but most of what I brought today is gone.”

Murphy said she tries to make face masks that people will like with fun designs.

“Me and Stephanie Strothmann with Purple Shamrock Farm started a sewing group with two friends, Angie Eckstein and Rebekah Ratliff,” she said. “That was at the beginning of everything, and it ended up being something we could sell.”

Murphy said the group helps each other out, and they exchange things according to what they need to make masks for people.

Wilma Allman of Seymour attended opening day of the market to look around and see if anything caught her eye.

“I was just wanting to get outside, and I come here every summer,” she said. “It’s also a beautiful day and a wide-open atmosphere, and I do have a mask in my pocketbook if I decide I need one.”

Mark Hays of Seymour also was at the market and said he always is glad to support the community.

“I was born and raised here, and I try to come to the market often when they’re open and see what new things they have,” Hays said. “I knew today was the first day back and thought the people would like some traffic, and it’s a beautiful day.”

A drive-thru service also was available at the side of the market next to the fence.

“People can preorder produce that’s in season and other food from their favorite vendors, and it will be available for pickup,” market manager Jo Boehlke said. “Or they can drive up and ask one of our volunteers to grab a few items for them.”

Boehlke also wants the public to be aware of the market’s ability to accept SNAP EBT (food stamp) cards and WIC vouchers.

“To encourage the use of SNAP benefits, the market is offering a Double Bucks program, where it will match the SNAP dollars spent at the market,” she said. “If a customer uses their EBT card to buy $10 of SNAP tokens, we will give them an additional $10 of tokens at no cost to them or the vendor.”

Two marketgoers from Vallonia, Becky Eastham and Joan Marcott, had not planned to go the market Saturday but just happened to see it from Tipton Street.

“We were just driving by and saw the market and thought we’d stop by, and it’s very nice,” Eastham said. “It’s great that the vendors are wearing masks, and we bought some bread today.”

Strothmann was selling dog treats, eggs and face masks at her booth. By closing time at noon, she had sold everything except for a few child-size face masks.

“It has been crazy busy this morning, and the weather is great,” she said. “Things are different, but there is still a sense of normalcy here, and we want to support that.”

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

What: Seymour Area Farmers Market

When: 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays and Wednesdays through September

Where: Walnut Street Parking Lot south of the railroad tracks behind the Jackson County Public Library in Seymour; parking is available across the street in the Robertson Mill Parking Lot


No posts to display