Thursday, January 6, 2011

B365 Thing To Do #3 Bloomington Farmers Market

For those who seek fresh produce grown locally and/or organically, Bloomington offers a Farmer's Market Saturday mornings, April thru Nov. It is currently located in Showers Plaza with a weekday location at the eastside Bloomingfoods grocery store.

The market has always had a special place in my heart. When I was little my Gramme and I used to go back when it was near the Monroe County Public Library. It was set up in a parking lot and we would wander through all the booths, walking while sucking on honey sticks and admiring black and red raspberries in green plastic containers. We took baskets with us to fill up on green beans, red potatoes, tomatoes, cantaloupe, sweet corn and watermelon. There were also lots of mixed summer bouquets of sunflowers, dried floral arrangements and other natural crafts.

Once we got home, we sat on the swing in the breezeway and snapped green beans together into a cobalt blue mixing bowl for Saturday dinner. It was a big family event of my grandparents, parents, and my cousin and my aunt and uncle. We usually had grilled burgers, sweet corn, green beans, fried red potatoes and sometimes we got out the ice cream mixer and had homemade ice cream.

The vendors and crowd also made it a great Saturday morning stop. Betty Neal, a retired bus driver and great grandmother, sets up a booth and sells gladiolas, tomatoes and homemade tomato juice. She loves to talk about her flowers and has a beautiful clematis at her home, which looks like white stars have sprinkled onto her clothes line. At her home she has a produce stand with a coffee can for customers to put money in, and grab whatever produce they want.

There is definitely a buzz from all the people milling around the market. The market is a gathering spot for many locals, and a great place for inspiring chefs, gardeners and other artisans.

In addition to the produce and flowers, there are monthly arts and crafts fairs, music and fresh coffee and snacks to enjoy while strolling thru all the booths. It is a tradition to be enjoyed by all ages.

Amanda Chitwood

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