GREENFIELD — Like the early-season produce they put on display during the weekend, Hancock County’s farmers markets are emerging for what organizers hope is a robust season.
Two of the county’s four markets opened last weekend, and organizers said vendors and customers alike are more than ready for the season.
“We had a good first weekend,” said Jeniece Miller, an organizer of the Farmers Market at the Fairground, which opened over the weekend.
About half of the market’s 20 vendors showed up for opening weekend, and Miller said as more produce begins to ripen, more vendors are expected.
“It will probably be around the end of the month when the produce starts coming in,” she said.
The scene was similar at the Cumberland market during the weekend.
“We had some residents that were chomping at the bit and calling ahead,” said Renee Michael, supervisor for Cumberland’s market.
“We were really pleased. We had a very good turnout, and we have some nice vendors that keep us going throughout the year,” she said.
Cumberland opened the market season with 23 of its 34 vendors appearing, and four additional vendors will arrive as their produce comes in, Michael said.
This year’s market in Cumberland will follow essentially the same format used in years past with entertainment and specialty weekends that will feature some of the market’s vendors with demonstrations and exhibits.
As the markets move into the summer months, organizers anticipate adding an additional weekday to their calendars, but Miller said the fairgrounds market will try to introduce an evening slot into this year’s calendar as well.
Once the crops began arriving last year, the fairgrounds market began opening on Wednesday mornings; however, this year, Miller said the market will give Tuesday evenings a try in an attempt to capture those they missed during the work day.
“We’re thinking about running it maybe from 4 to 7 p.m., but we’ll see how it goes,” she said.
Also new for this year is the markets’ move toward accepting the federally funded and state-distributed Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits.
Miller said the fairgrounds market has been accepting Indiana Women Infants and Children benefits for some time, and this year, she hopes to have some vendors qualified to accept food stamp benefits by June.
The county’s two remaining markets open this week, with Fortville also working to put S.N.A.P. benefits in place and offering improved parking and customer access from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursdays.
Downtown, the Greenfield Farmers Market will open its season at 9 a.m. Saturday with 16 vendors and live music.
Now in its second year downtown, market master Chandra Chaves said the venue will expand its offerings with more local artisans, special events and kids’ days.
Here’s a look at farmers markets in Hancock County:
Farmers Market at the Fairgrounds: 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays at the Hancock County Fairgrounds, 620 N. Apple St., Greenfield
Greenfield Farmers Market: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, starting this week at the southeast corner of State and North streets, one block north of Main Street.
Fortville Farmers Market: 4 to 7 p.m. Thursdays starting this week at Fortville Church of the Nazarene, 701 S. Maple St., Fortville.
Cumberland Farmers Market: 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays at Cumberland Town Hall, 11501 E. Washington St., Cumberland.
Information also available at hoosierharvestcouncil.com.