TERRE HAUTE —
A downtown market’s bounty seems to be spilling over its confines.
The Downtown Terre Haute Farmers Market wrapped up the final day of its inaugural winter season Saturday, with plans under way for the summer, as well as an expansion north to Union Hospital. Now in its eighth season, the group returns outside to the Clabber Girl Marketplace at Ninth and Cherry streets June 2, with a mid-week location to be established at North Eighth and Lafayette streets each Tuesday this summer.
Earlier, Market Master Angi Hansel said the winter market’s trial run inside Hulman & Co.’s museum went better than hoped.
The group opened the first Saturday of each month between November and May, averaging about 18 vendors and 200 customers each week, she said.
“All winter long we still had greens,” she remarked, explaining some of the vendors operate green houses, while others took advantage of an unseasonably warm winter and grew root crops. Other vendors provided goods ranging from meat and cheese to crafts and honey.
The summer market will commence June 2 and follow the first Saturday of each month from 8 a.m. to noon. Last year, the operation averaged 30 vendors each week, selling homemade or locally grown products.
“We have already approved 35 for this year,” she said, adding Owen Valley Winery from Spencer will be among the new additions.
Interest has been sufficient that Union Hospital contacted market organizers about joining in for a regular mid-week event.
“It will be in the experimental stages,” she said, explaining tentative hours will be 4 to 7 p.m. each Tuesday near the hospital and that news of the expansion was well received. “Last week the vendors were asking us about a mid-week market because they have so much product.”
Kim Perkins, system director of public relations and marketing for Union Hospital, said the idea came from the organization’s Health Advocate Nurse, Marilyn Bird.
“I think it’s a fabulous idea,” Perkins said, adding the venue will be open to the public in hopes of encouraging healthy eating choices. “We are trying to connect with the community in a healthy manner. We have a beautiful facility and a lot of things people can do when they’re well. We want to be a community partner all the time.”
Saturday morning, Ron Hayden said he’ll be among the vendors serving both Terre Haute locations. Hayden and his wife, Cathy, operate The Me and Cathy’s Veggie Farm from their property outside Marshall, Ill.
Hayden’s family owns a 400-acre farm there, out of which he’s carved off an acre for organic produce. Now in his sixth year of business, and fourth at the Downtown Terre Haute Farmers Market, he said supply is strong enough to support more trips to the city.
“We’re very excited about it. We have lots of produce we need to sell. We would definitely do more than once a week, but there’s not enough markets around here,” he said, explaining he produces about eight months a year from May to December. “But I think they’re working on it.”
Most of Saturday’s supply was planted in March, including organic pac choi going for $3 per pound. By June, he said, the pac choi and the lettuce will have gone to flower, so the need to expand outlets is pressing. Tomatoes will be available by July with pumpkins in the fall, he said.
“You’re rotating stuff in all the time,” he said, describing the sheer volume of food produced from a space the size of a football field.
In addition to more than 500 tomato plants, that section also maintains 300 head of broccoli, 200 pepper plants and 200 eggplants. Last year he grew about 5,000 pounds of onions, and 2,500 pounds of potatoes.
The retired woodworker recalled his first season as a grower, when he used less than half an acre and netted about $10,000.
“They have so much more overhead compared to me,” he said of family members who row-crop the rest of the 400 acres. “I have no overhead. I don’t even use a tiller. I use a pitchfork.”
But the market is a lot of hard work, and Rhonda Maher expressed some relief at the winter season’s end. The owner of Wooden It Be Nice said she’ll be selling hand-crafted bowls and other goods at the Herb Fair next Saturday, but will take a break this summer before considering jumping back into it in October.
“This is our fourth year at the market,” she said, quick to add the business has been tremendous, but her family is ready for some time off. “But we’ve enjoyed it.”
Reporter Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seasonal Shift: Downtown Terre Haute Farmers Market finds success on winter endeavor, readies for summer
Effort plans to expand to Union Hospital
TERRE HAUTE —
A downtown market’s bounty seems to be spilling over its confines.
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