New Year, New Veggies
The Bloomington Community Farmers Market is ringing in its 38th year this season.
On the first Saturday of the season, the parking lot next to the Showers Building is buzzing with more farmers, more prepared food vendors, more performers and more customers than have attended this early in previous seasons.
Market Master Robin Hobson is the person responsible for managing what goes down every Saturday morning. She estimates that 4,000 customers and 60 vendors are participating in this first day of the market. At the height of the season, she guesses there will be over 10,000 customers visiting the market.
Hobson says, of recent, the market has become more of a money-making venture for farmers:
I think all the hoofera around buying local and seeking out farmers, it's the expression of that is right here. A lot of money changes hands.
Thanks to a mild winter and an early spring, she's seeing things that she wouldn't normally see until a little bit later in the year, like strawberries and cucumbers, "which is probably something coming out of a... season extension arrangement."
Shopper And Farmer Profiles
Candace Finch of Finch's Brasserie is at the Heartland Family Farms table pouring over a very long grocery list. She is buying all sorts of herbs and vegetables to be used at the restaurant. The wild garlic will be used in their wild garlic butter, and the watercress will be served with wild striped bass and lobster stock risotto entrée.
Jim Lewis of Old Post Gardens (Vincennes, Indiana) is selling carrots. He planted them in the fall and let them over-winter. He says these carrots are tastier than the ones you can buy later in the season.
Kelsey Smith studies Nutritional Science at Indiana University. She purchased four butternut squashes, a couple bunches of kale, collard greens and green onions. Why so much food? She lives is the Bloomington Coop with 13 other people. They spend $50-$70 at the farmers market every week.