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Hats Off to the Smithville Farmers’ Market

July 16, 2011

As many of you already know, I’m a big fan of supporting local farmers and I shop the farmer’s market weekly. Bloomington has a huge farmer’s market with all the farm vendors, tasty prepared foods, folk singers and plants you could ever need; but I’m starting to feel that it’s more of a chic tourist attraction than a true farmer’s market. In my opinion, the purpose of a farmer’s market is to link farmer’s directly with the consumers of their goods; which allows the farmers to cut out expensive middle men while providing us with the opportunity to buy fresh, local produce at affordable prices.

I love all of the “extras”  at the Bloomington market, but I don’t love what I’ve come to call “designer” prices for the goods offered there. My community is filled with a lot of enlightened folks; we want to save the planet, we want to support local businesses, and we want to eat good, healthy food! We know that organic and sustainably produced products are often more expensive than conventionally produced ones, and we know why. However, I’m beginning to suspect that many of the vendors at my gorgeous market know this about Bloomingtonians, and are exploiting it. Why do I feel this way? Because the produce (organic or not) I buy at the farmer’s market is more expensive than even the organic stuff I buy from my local food co-op, Bloomingfoods. Considerably more expensive. Borderline astronomical. Unaffordable for a new foodie on a limited budget.

There is hope, however! I found a new little farmer’s market right down the road from my house. It’s called the Smithville Farmer’s Market, and while it offers no “pomp and circumstance,” there is amazing, affordable, fresh, local produce! Last weekend I visited the market, and left with cucumber, zucchini, eggplant, green peppers, spring mix lettuce, asian spinach, rhubarb, peaches, tomatoes and farm fresh eggs. I also bought a few delicious homemade truffles from a group of homeschooled kids who have started their own little business! I spent right around $20 for all of it too! Of course I went back this week and picked up more eggs, kale, lettuce, cucumber, zucchini, and a head of cabbage for my granddad. I’m hooked! I even asked Kevin, one of the farmers to take me under his wing as a garden volunteer. Hopefully he’ll take me up on it!

Smithville Market Goodies

In addition to locally grown produce, the market also offers local Amish baked goods (gluten-free)including breads and pies, potted plants, and craft items.  This market serves a lot of local seniors that can’t get out and about at the big market downtown, and it seems to be doing really well!

I guess I had to share this with you because I’m so encouraged by it. I really love what it brings to my little community! Thank you Smithville Farmers’ Market!!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. July 17, 2011 12:26 am

    You are welcome to join my CSA. We are always looking for volunteers to come help weed the onions, and the fresh weekly produce is great. If you are interested, Strangers Hill Organics does have a stall at the Bloomington market, and I’m sure they would love to talk to you about joining.

    On topic, I was at the Smithville market today, and 9:30 must be too late, as they were mostly cleaned out. It was mostly crafts by the time I got there. I went for the very same reasons you mentioned. The Bloomington market is nice, but the prices feel artificially inflated, and the vendors come from 25 different counties. I know that is closer than the food you find at the supermarket, but doesn’t quite feel like local.

    • July 17, 2011 11:12 am

      I must have just missed you Chad! I was there right around 9, I think. There was still lots to choose from then, but there were a lot of shoppers there. I gave them some props in the HT online last week, and I may have been effective at encouraging several folks to check it out! Don’t give up on Smithville though. I think the market has great growth opportunity if people continue to shop there. I know one of the farmers is planning to expand just for the Smithville market!

      As for the CSA, I really like the Stranger’s Hill folks, but I’m a control freak in that I like determining what produce I get every week. I think when my kids get older, and I have more time to cook on the fly, I’ll join one!

      I am looking for a partner to buy some meat with though! Are you interested???

  2. July 17, 2011 12:33 pm

    How much meat are you talking? I don’t have a chest freezer, so I’ve only got room for a very limited supply.

    • July 17, 2011 5:49 pm

      I’m not exactly sure. We don’t have a chest freezer either, but I’m on the lookout for one. I need to research what meat share options are out there, but I don’t want to buy a whole beef. Maple Valley farms has some share options, and I think Schacht farm does too. We don’t eat a lot of meat, but I thought it might be affordable & practical to get together with a few folks at some point and share a “share”!!!

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