Do yourself a favor and find your local farmers market
By Angie Fenton | Courtesy Photos
I grew up in a family where our mother instilled the value of tilling, planting and tending to a garden. My three sisters and I spent long hours pulling weeds and picking off tomato worms. We delighted at the first sign of anything sprouting and often ate some of our yield plucked right off the vine after a rinse from the hose.
There was nothing like sitting down to dinner with a plate of freshly picked vegetables you knew were labored over lovingly.
Somewhere along the way, as I grew older, trips to the local supermarket became a necessity to save time, or so I thought. And I forgot how much better a handpicked peach or pepper tasted than those purchased from a store.
All of those simple pleasures were revived when I moved to Southern Indiana and discovered the New Albany Farmers Market, which is located on Market Street downtown.
Farmers from all over Southern Indiana set up booths filled with vegetables, fruits, meats, cheeses, eggs, milk, flowers and more. You can buy usual fare or try something more exotic – like the wasabi flowers and lettuce I fell in love with last summer.
Prices are comparable to grocery store produce and products, but at a farmers market you get the opportunity to talk with the people whose livings are made from their fare in our community. And you’re encouraged to ask questions.
But even more than that, shopping at the farmers market has become a social event and a reminder of why taking the time to appreciate the simpler things in life is important.
A couple years ago, I walked through the market pregnant with my child. Week after week, the familiar, smiling faces behind the tables greeted me as I carefully made selections of kale, melons, cucumbers, honey, peaches and arugula, knowing my choices were also my unborn child’s.
When she was born, one of our first warm-weather outings was to the farmers market, where I picked the week’s produce and dairy products as vendors fawned over my daughter.
Now that she’s walking, Olive will once again accompany me and her father on Saturday mornings as we make selections and contemplate new dishes, asking the farmers for their favorite ways to prepare a particular item.
We’ll also enjoy live music, sometimes purchase handmade jewelry or stained glass signs, and sit on a bench or at a picnic table eating a breakfast of BBQ, omelets or even a lobster roll, washed down with a side of pickle juice. And, on occasion, we’ll pick one of our for pooches to accompany us on our dog-friendly outing (don’t forget poo bags and all dogs must be leashed).
While the New Albany Farmers Market is my current favorite, I plan to explore any other Southern Indiana farmers markets I can find and encourage you to do the same.
IF YOU GO
New Albany Farmers Market New Albany Farmers Market
202 E. Market St.
8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays
• Arrive early if you can. Farmers can only bring so much to the market. Once it’s gone, it’s gone…until next week. Or the next growing season.
• Pick up a coffee or iced tea from Quill’s and then walk across the street to start a leisurely stroll around the market.
• Do a once-over first. Unless you see what you want immediately, compare prices and options.
Then, go back and make your purchases.
• Try new things. And ask questions if you’re unsure how to eat or cook it.
• Be prepared to see people you know – and enjoy the face-to-face interaction (that’s half the fun!).
• Let your little ones help pick what you purchase. Ensuring they’re involved will be beneficial for everyone.
• Dress in layers. And don’t forget the sunscreen.
• Thank the farmers and vendors for taking the time and care to be there. We need them as much as they need us.
Jeffersonville Farmers Market
The Jeffersonville Farmers Market is now open Saturdays at Big Four Station in Historic Downtown Jeffersonville next to the Big Four Bridge, near the corner of Mulberry Street and Market Street. The market is open from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays. There is free on-street parking and additional free parking in the grass of Colston Park on Mulberry Street. On Tuesdays, the market is located at the 10th Street entrance to Jeffersonville High School from 3 to 6 p.m.
Do you know of a Southern Indiana farmers market we should visit? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.