Brownstown group revamping farmers market

BROWNSTOWN

The Brownstown Farmers Market has been revamped and restructured.

A Brownstown/Ewing Main Street committee hopes a set day and time period will attract more vendors and customers.

On Fridays from June 2 to Oct. 27, vendors can set up from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the grassy area and on the stage at Heritage Park, 121 E. Walnut St., on the north side of the Jackson County Courthouse. A few parking spots in front of the park also could be used for vendors using their trucks to display produce or for mobile food trucks.

To encourage as much participation as possible, for now, it’s going to be free for vendors.

“Maybe if things grow fast enough, we will start charging booth fees, but for now, we’re just trying to get people there,” said Megan VanLiew, a member of the farmers market committee.

A problem last year was customers were there to buy, but vendors weren’t there, she said. It was open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays from June to October.

“There was a little bit of trouble getting it last year rolling because we were open too long, and days conflicted. We just didn’t have the manpower behind it,” VanLiew said. “This year, we’ve got a more organized committee, we’ve delegated tasks and I think we’re on the right path with hours that don’t conflict with anything and are all day long.”

The committee chose to change it to four hours on Fridays because the Seymour Area Farmers Market has Monday, Wednesday and Saturday hours.

“We have a list of all vendors who have previously sold in Seymour since we have purposely put it on a day that Seymour is not open, so hopefully, we can pull some of those vendors down as well as other people that we’ve brainstormed that might be interested in selling,” VanLiew said.

The day and hours also were chosen because that’s when people are out and about, especially in the summertime, VanLiew said.

If there is enough demand, she said the market could be expanded to another day of the week.

“I think (Fridays) is where we wanted to start, get our feet underneath of us and get the structure,” VanLiew said.

The committee recently received approval from the Brownstown Town Council to use Heritage Park since it’s on town-owned property.

The council also granted permission for the committee to erect a sign that will advertise the farmers market. That way, it will be seen at all times from June to October.

Blake Hackman, a member of the farmers market committee, said he also would place feather flags to let people know about the market, but those would be put up and taken down on Fridays.

Before selling products at the market, people must register with the Purdue Extension Jackson County office in Suite 10 of the courthouse and sign an agreement, which states the rules and policies.

All vendors must live in Jackson County or within a 60-mile radius of Brownstown.

Products that can be sold include produce, meat, eggs, honey, baked goods, nursery crops and homemade products or crafts. Temporary food booths must be permitted by the Jackson County Health Department before setting up at the farmers market.

Once the market opens, vendors can arrive as early as 8 a.m. to find a spot on a first-come, first-serve basis. The grassy area will be used first, and the stage will be used if needed.

Vendors must supply the equipment necessary to display their items, and they are responsible for removing everything from their space by 1:30 p.m. Hackman said after taking the feather flags down, he would canvass the farmers market area to ensure it’s cleaned up.

If you go

What: Brownstown Farmers Market

When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays from June 2 to Oct. 27

Where: Heritage Park, 121 E. Walnut St., Brownstown

Who: All vendors must live in Jackson County or within a 60-mile radius of Brownstown

Cost: Free for vendors (vendor setup starts at 8 a.m., and teardown must be done by 1:30 p.m.)

Register: Before selling products at the market, vendors must register with the Purdue Extension Jackson County office, 111 S. Main St., Suite 10, Brownstown, and sign an agreement

Information: Richard Beckort at 812-358-6101 or rbeckort@purdue.edu

At a glance

Products that can be sold at the Brownstown Farmers Market

Produce: No contaminated, rotting or infirmed goods may be offered for sale.

Meat/eggs: Must meet inspection guidelines.

Honey: Must be produced from bees owned by the seller.

Baked goods/foods: All home-based vendors must be labeled as “This product is home produced and processed, and the production area has not been inspected by the Indiana State Department of Health.”

Nursery crops: Must be grown locally.

Homemade products/crafts: Must be completely homemade. No commercially prepared products may be sold.

Temporary food booths: Must be permitted by the Jackson County Health Department before setting up at the farmers market.

At a glance

Donations made to the Brownstown Farmers Market are tax-deductible. Checks should be made payable to Brownstown/Ewing Main Street, P.O. Box 75, Brownstown, IN 47220.

Donations will be used to further the mission of the Brownstown Farmers Market for generations to come.

Author photo
Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.