News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 5, 2010

Downtown marketplace packed for opening day of Farmers Market

Brian Boyce
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Summer’s bounty had parking lots overflowing Saturday morning, as the Farmers Market opened to a roaring start.

Andrew Conner, director of Downtown Terre Haute Inc., visited the packed booths lining Clabber Girl Festival Marketplace off North Ninth Street that morning. “I think we’re going to spill into a second lot,” he said of the annual market which drew 30 vendors for this season’s inaugural morning. “And only on opening day,” he said of that number. “We’ll certainly hit 40 and maybe even 50 vendors by July and August, the prime time for gardens.”

Conner added that the first weeks of June are the lightest time for organic produce.

The Farmers Market will open from 8 a.m. to noon every Saturday until Oct. 30. Vendors supplying a variety of fresh produce and goods are already forming a line waiting to come to Terre Haute, Conner said.

The overcast sky held temperatures at a muggy 85 degrees as raindrops spittled through the hazy breeze. Don Richards scooped up homemade ice cream from Yegerlehners’ “Swiss Connection” outside Clay City, giving away free conefuls on behalf of Terre Foods Cooperative Market.

“Yeah, this is quite a draw,” a sweaty Richards said while ladling out free ice cream cones for anyone interested. The Terre Foods project is moving along with its membership drive, working toward the acquisition of a store in which to sell organic food. The ice cream, donated by Yegerlehners and Downtown Terre Haute Inc. was soft and mushy, in mocha, lemon and cookies and cream flavors. “We should have thought of this two years ago,” he joked while serving the crowd.

But as Deb Kelly noted, Saturday’s crowd was significantly bigger than that seen two years ago. “It’s really grown since a couple years ago,” she said.

Kelly, a former Tribune-Star reporter, and her husband, Darin, operate Good Life Farms out of Eminence, and she noted the volume of lettuce which had been sold since their stand opened that morning.

Jessie Light, a volunteer with the White Violet Center, said she and others from St. Mary-of-the-Woods brought two carloads of produce out for sale, and by 10:30 a.m. the tables were nearly bare.

“Yes, it’s been a good turnout,” she said just a few seconds after telling a disappointed customer they were all out of a particular tomato. But peas, homemade jellies and pie cherries were still on the table, and Light said they’ll be back next week with more to sell.

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or