By STEVEN PENN
— As summer settles in, many Hendricks County residents will be frequenting local farmers’ markets for the best homegrown produce the county has to offer.
The five major farmers’ markets are:
Avon Town Events Coordinator Austin Cox said there will be plenty of products available at this year’s market, which is located in the parking lot of the HRH Avon Campus.
“The vendors of course (will have) a lot of produce, but we’re also having homemade honey and honey related products,” he said. “We’ll be having … handmade soaps and other essential oils. We also have someone who’s making homemade baby clothes.”
He said the town of Avon coordinates the event, but Hendricks Regional Health (HRH) plays a major role.
“(HRH) hosts it. We coordinate the event and we coordinate all the vendors, but they have the location,” he said.
Cox added the town and HRH are happy to give locals a place to by homegrown food.
“We’re just excited to provide local, homegrown produce to our residents and have it readily available for them,” he said.
Plainfield Market Master Alison Hagen said there will be some new vendors at the market this year, but they will still be provide the same high quality homemade products.
Hagen said one of the best aspects the market has to offer is the setting.
“Our setting is probably one of the nicest,” Hagen said. “We’re in the lawn of the Plainfield Friends Meeting at 105 S. East Street, in downtown Plainfield, there’s lots of shade and trees.”
In addition to fresh and local products, she said the market will host events.
“We also try to have a lot of special events, I would say at least two a month,” she said. “(There will be) something scheduled whether it’s kids day event or a food demo, or free handouts. We’ll also have a fiber arts day in September where we’re actually going to have some alpacas there from Montrose Farms in Brownsburg. They were there last year, which was kind of cool.”
In Danville, Market Master Kathy Stampart said it is the only non-resale items market in Hendricks County.
“We’re a producer’s only market, which means there are no resale items allowed,” she said. “That means that anything for sale at the market is something that the vendor has made or grown … themselves. We take pride in that because we’re the only market in Hendricks County that can really say that.”
She said there’s a multitude of items, other than just fruits and vegetables, at the market.
“We have an array of everything from ‘A’ to ‘Z,’” she said. “(There will be) baked goods, jams and jellies, and hand crafted items of all sorts. There’s handmade jewelry by a gentleman from Africa, it’s authentic African jewelry and leather goods. New this year will be hand-blown glass by one of our vendors. She also has a big assortment of perennials.”
She added there’s also treats for the non-human visitors.
“(There are) dog treats,” Stampart said. “We have a lot of people bringing their dogs to the market because two of the vendors will hand out small treats for them as well as what they have for sale.
The Brownsburg market, which is presented by IU Health West Hospital and the Town of Brownsburg, features a variety of honey, herbs, handcrafted soaps, artisan breads, and fresh produce.
According to information on the town’s website, vendors include The Bakery Shop, My Hunny’s Honey, BFE Trading Post, Weber Farms, Red Robin Farm, and The Old MG Bed and Breakfast.
One new aspect this year is the non-profit row, which features local organizations that add value to the market’s mission of supporting local farmers and home-based vendors that offer a variety of quality products and informational materials.
Per the website, the market is now approved by the State of Indiana’s WIC Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program. The program allows lower-income families who receive WIC benefits the opportunity to purchase the locally grown products with vouchers.
Additionally, the market is working with the Hendricks County Health Partnership Obesity Work Group, which helps area food pantries stock up while cutting waste from vendors. On a weekly basis, participating vendors will have the option to donate any fresh items left after the market closes. Donations will also be accepted from patrons of the market.