Farmers markets gearing up for summertime sales

Hillsboro, Peabody, Marion and Florence will each have a farmers? market this season, and for visitors there are a few new additions and fun surprises.

The first market opened Tuesday in Florence, followed by Marion?s market starting May 4. Hillsboro?s market kicks off May 5, and Peabody is looking at Saturday markets with the first one on Memorial Day, May 30.

?This year will be really fun,? said Joni Calam, co-manager of the Hillsboro Farmers? Market.

Calam said she and co-manager Amelia Breugen are going to have a tandem bike available to rent.

?It takes a bit of coordination at first (to ride the tandem), but it?s so much fun,? she said.

The tandem is being provided by ?Easy Wheels,? a Hillsboro business owned and operated by Dean Magnuson. The cost of riding the tandem, she said, is $2.50 for 30 minutes.

?We haven?t done anything like this before, so we will see how it goes,? she said.

Hillsboro?s market

The Hillsboro market started in 2005, Calam said, and all the money from vendor fees goes back into promoting the market.

?We don?t get paid for managing the market,? she said. ?We are volunteers who enjoy doing it.?

Vendors pay $5 to sell their items or $15 for the month.

Calam has continued to offer vendors is ?Sell Anything Week,? which is the last Thurs?day of the month.

?This is a time when we encourage downtown businesses to come and promote themselves by either selling items from their shop or just answering questions,? she said.

?Sell Anything? also gives people a chance to sell one or 20 items, flea market merchandise, puppies or kittens?it?s whatever someone wants to sell. One year, she said, a man was selling car parts.

However, Calam is also encouraging potential vendors to call her and make sure whatever they are selling meets state guidelines. Prepared baked goods, depending on what they are, might not meet regulations. Live plants, she said, can be sold but the seller needs a license, which is free, but required.

What to expect

Now in its sixth season, Calam said she doesn?t know what vendors will bring or how many will show up on any given Thursday.

The market also has a few other attractions each week that include a meal sponsored by non-profit organizations as a way for them to raise money for specific projects.

?Opening night (the Chamber of Commerce) will be serving $1 hot dogs so that families can come and eat cheap,? she said.

Another highlight is musical entertainment and opening night will feature the Schniggle-Fritz Band. Calam said they are still looking for other bands to consider entertaining at the market.

Another change this year, she said, is the market will no longer accept EBT or electronic benefits transfer program cards.

?We did a two-year trial and there weren?t enough users to keep it going,? she said.

For more information about Hillsboro?s market, call Calam at 620-947-0270 or e-mail her at

Hillsboro Farmers? Market runs from May 5 through Sept. 29 and is open from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the lawn of the Historic Schaeffler House, corner of Grand and Jefferson.

Florence Farmers? Market

The Florence market opened May 3 and will run through Sept. 27, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Moses Shane Park, located at the Highway Roadside Park near the roundabout.

Scott Zogelman, one of the coordinators, said this is the second year for the market and for $25 a vendor can rent space for the whole season.

Zogelman said vendors must sell goods that are homegrown or homemade. No resale items are allowed.

Averaging about six vendors the first year, Zogelman and others are hoping to attract more this year.

?Early in the season the produce is scarce,? he said. ?There are bedding plants, jams, jellies, baked goods, homemade designer jewelry and other items.?

Zogelman said they would like to see more vendors selling produce. He also said the idea of a farmers? market had been in the works for a couple of year.

?When the town lost its grocery store a few years ago, residents had to drive out of town to get their food and supplies,? he said.

The reason for choosing Tuesday as Florence?s market day was partially to avoid having a market on the same day as in neighboring towns.

Another reason, he said, was that during mid-week, shoppers might be looking to buy some fresh produce.

For more information about the Florence market, vendors are encouraged to e-mail Zogelman at

The Florence PRIDE committee served a Cinco de Mayo Mexican meal at the park at the first market May 3.

Marion Farmers? Market

Marion?s market will start today, May 4, and will continue until October, said Diana Costello, one of the coordinators. It will be open from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. every Wednesday at Central Park.

Marion chose Wednesday as so they don?t interfere with other community markets.

Last year, she said, the ?Boot Sale? was at Liberty Park. One of the biggest reasons for moving the event was to give vendors and visitors shade.

?The Marion Farmers? Market is a committee under the Marion PRIDE?program,? she said. ?We welcome all vendors selling produce, plants or handcrafted art. We already have a lady from Topeka who has signed up.?

The cost to vendors is $2 per week or $20 for the season.

?We are hoping to offer meals served by different groups each week and we are also talking about having live music for some evenings,? Costello said.

For more information about vendor requirements, musical entertainment or groups serving meals, call Costello at 620-382-3703. Vendor and concession applications can also be found on the city website

Peabody Farmers? Market

In Peabody, the market is scheduled on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon at Santa Fe Park on South Walnut.

The first market will be May 30. Vendors will continue to sell items through Sept. 3. Vendors will be selling baked goods, plants, eggs and vegetables.

Organized in March 1999, the Doyle Valley Farmers Market was started to provide fresh produce to the public, educate growers and buyers, enhance the community through products and incomes and to bring people together.

The organizers said they hope the market will attract tourists who will shop and enjoy all of Peabody.

?The growers are also planning monthly get-togethers with experts in growing, marketing and preparing prime produce,? one organizer said. ?Local production areas will be toured and visits are planned to out-of- town markets and gardens.?

In addition, a community dinner featuring local foods is planned to showcase what is available.

Vendors are encouraged to call Marilyn Jones, one of the organizers, at 620-983-2815.

Teresa Huffman, executive director of Marion County Economic Development, said she is doing what she can to support the area markets by putting together table toppers for area businesses with information on the markets.

?Farmers markets are so important to all parties,? Huffman said. ?Families get fresh food, growers have a market and earn some money and it?s just positive for the communities to have a place to meet and greet old friends and new.?

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