Farmers Market season is the best time of the year. Actually, it’s farmers market all year long (*Fun Fact To Know: I used to work for Growing Places Indy, who runs the Indy Winter Farmers Market. IWFM is the city’s longest-running winter farmers market and happens every Saturday from November to April at the Circle City Industrial Complex). While it’s nice to have access to fresh, local products all year long, there’s a special place in my heart for summer markets. Sunshine, live music, iced coffee, hardworking, dedicated farmers and vendors—ahh, it’s the best!
There are so many reasons why you should shop at farmers markets, but here are my top three:
- Produce is super fresh and nutritious. When you buy directly from a farmer, that farmer is harvesting your veggies within days of selling them to you. When you buy from a big box store, those fruits and vegetables can be weeks (or even months!) old by the time they wind up on the grocery store shelves.
- Purchases support small, family businesses. Buying directly from a farmer is far better for our local economy by keeping the money within our own community. These vendors dedicate their whole lives to farming and providing us with quality products. They need our support!
- The taste is unbeatable! Seriously, the flavor of a local tomato ripened under the hot Indiana summer sun is astronomically better than the mealy, watery, gritty tomatoes you buy at the grocery store.
- Learn about new produce from the experts themselves! There’s always a few funny looking options at each market I go to. Being face-to-face with the farmers who grew the item is the perfect time to learn about a new veggie and try something new! For example, I had no idea what kohlrabi was until working at IWFM. I sparked up a casual convo with the vendor and learned they’re a delicious, crunchy addition to a salad. Or work well chopped up small in a coleslaw.
- There is plenty of entertainment for littles. What makes shopping at a farmers market even better? When you can shop in peace because your normally nagging toddler is busy coloring, going on a market scavenger hunt, getting their face painted or dancing to the live music. It’s a win-win for everybody!
Now that I’ve (hopefully) convinced you to add farmers markets to your summer routines, here are my two absolute favorite options:
- Garfield Park Farmers Market (starting Saturday, May 4)
- This market began in 2015 and has quickly become my favorite summer market. My typical Saturday visit here includes coffee from Bee Coffee Roasters, lettuce mix from Mad Farmers Collective, eggs from Becker Farms, shiitakes from Shamrock Farm, cheese from Tulip Tree Creamery, vegan snacks from Trailhead Naturals and fresh ravioli from Bettini Pasta.
- Indiana Black Farmers Market Co-Op’s Market (roving location, check them out on Facebook for dates and details)
- This newly formed co-op is transforming our urban food scene. They’ve created pop up markets throughout Indianapolis in areas highly affected by Double 8 and Marsh store closings and also provide educational opportunities through workshops for adults and farm apprenticeships with youth. Co-op members include Lawrence Community Gardens, Elephant Gardens, Mother Loves Garden and Three Sisters Garden.
If you work downtown, the Original Farmers Market at the City Market on Wednesdays is always a good choice. For my northside friends, you guys also have plenty of options to shop at the ever classic Broad Ripple Farmers Market (although, I think they might be moving from their Broad Ripple High School location with the closing of BRHS), Carmel Farmers Market, Binford Farmers Market, Zionsville or Noblesville Farmers Market. The countdown is on. I hope to see you at a market soon!