While opening day is still a bit more than a month away, preparation for the 2019 Zionsville Farmers' Market is in full swing.
Market Manager Sara Martini said that while market shoppers can expect the return of their favorite vendors from recent years, a few new vendors —along with some special events — should grow the experience for shoppers this year.
Martini, who first served as a volunteer with the farmers' market, became its manager four years ago.
"It was one of the reasons we moved to The Village in Zionsville," she said. "The farmers' market is charming and right on Main Street. I volunteered to meet my neighbors."
Martini said she and her husband especially liked that dogs were welcome at the market.
"We consider our dog a part of the family," Martini said. And now that Martini is the farmers' market manager, "Daisy is the market dog."
The Zionsville Farmers' Market was started in 1997 by a small group of women in The Village who wanted to bring life back to Main Street, Martini said.
The market sets up on Saturday mornings from mid-May until the end of September in what's known as The Friendly parking lot, along Main Street. Vendors there sell locally grown produce, plants, foods, coffee and tea, breads and pastries, pasta, peanut butter, eggs and meats. Some vendors even sell ready-to-eat fare, and Martini noted that some of the market regulars are people who grab a bite for breakfast on their way to work or other activities.
Farmers' market hours are 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. This year's opening day will be May 18.
While space in the lot where the market is held is limited, Martini said market organizers like the fact that they offer a smaller market with quality vendors.
"So when we hire a vendor, we insure they are local, and offer quality and plenty of product."
While no new vendors can be added at the moment, Martini said they are always adding to the substitute list, which is a good way for a vendor to be considered for a full-time opportunity in the future.
Six new local vendors being introduced this year are Harmon Farms, Zionsville Olive Tap, Kim's Cookie Cafe, Indie Coffee Roasters, Walking Waffle Co., and Jadie's Applesauce.
Among the favorite returning vendors this season are B. Happy Peanut Butter, My Dad's Sweet Corn, Patrick's Kitchen breakfast burritos, and Tulip Tree Creamery cheeses.
Each year, the farmers' market sells T-shirts to fund market events. This year, organizers are asking community members to share design ideas for a child's shirt. Designers are invited to email designs to Martini through May 25, and the community will vote on those designs at the market June 1, with a winning design to be announced June 3.
Special events are planned throughout the 2019 market season.
In keeping with Martini's love of pets, the market is partnering with the Humane Society for Boone County to offer an adoption event on its opening day May 18. Adoptable dogs and cats will be at the market, "so people can come and find their forever friend," Martini said.
Other planned events include:
— Bike to Market Day, May 25, with giveaways by eBoom Electric Bike Shop, and a mayor-led bike ride to the market from Zionsville Town Hall at 9:30 a.m. on May 25;
— Strawberry Shortcake Day, June 1, with free shortcake as long as it lasts. Last year 2,000 shortcakes were served. Martini advises market-goers interested in shortcake to arrive early;
— Dog Days of Summer, June 29, with Zionsville Farmers' Market dog bandanas and dog treats for all canine customers;
— It's a Corn-ival, July 27, featuring free grilled corn on the cob offered by the farmers' market and Zionsville Lions Club;
— National Farmers' Market Week, Aug. 10, with a special giveaway for customers;
— End of Market, Sept. 28, featuring free cider as the community bids farewell to summer and the 2019 market.
Throughout the 2019 season, a library will be set up, where market-goers may pick up or drop off cookbooks and gardening books.
The events are a way for the market to give back to the community and thank residents for supporting farmers' market vendors, Martini said. IU Health, a market sponsor, has been very generous to help make the events possible, Martini added.
The Zionsville Farmers' Market will open for the season May 18 in the parking lot on Main Street across from The Friendly. Nearly 50 vendors will set up each Saturday from 8 to 11 a.m. through the end of September. Some of the vendors are able to accept credit cards, including the Zionsville Farmers' Market T-shirt stand. Other vendors are cash only, and a few vendors accept WIC. For more information about the market, to enter a design into the child's T-shirt design contest, or to be considered for the vendor's substitute list, contact market manager Sara Martini at email@example.com.