Locally grown

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The Carmel Farmers Market serves up fresh food and great entertainment

Daily Farms, one of many area farm vendors, featured a variety of produce as well as prepared dishes like chicken salad.

It was only 8 a.m., but already the Monon Greenway located between Carmel’s Palladium and Studio Theater bustled with the life and excitement of the Carmel Farmers Market. More than 60 local vendors had readied their booths and were already taking orders.

The range of items available was a bit overwhelming at first, and it took my fiance and me two trips around all of the booths before we began to decide what we wanted to buy. We sampled Banana Butter by Preservation, whose booth was filled with jams and jellies of all kinds; Chocolate Mint Tea by Kei Tea, which was delicious and refreshing as the day’s heat continued to build; and Chicken, Red Grape and Cashew Salad by Daily Farms, which we couldn’t help but take home with us after tasting.

By 10 a.m., the market was packed with local shoppers, some just looking for fresh groceries and others looking for a concert and a good meal.

Soon after our arrival, the crisp sound of live music made its way from the Carmel Rotary Amphitheater in the middle of the greenway. After running into a friend who was volunteering for the market that morning, my fiance and I picked up a massive (and delicious) cinnamon roll for just $3 from Lisa’s Pies and took a seat near the band.

Witch Hazel Valley People, one of many local bands scheduled to play throughout the farmers market’s five-month run, played a wonderful brand of nostalgic country tunes richly supported by a wide variety of eclectic percussion instruments and a number of different vocalists. The band’s antiquated sound added to the atmosphere of the market, something that feels strangely old-fashioned in its own way. Children ran and played among the tables and throughout the greenway as the crowd continued to grow.

The Monon Greenway made for a great place for children to play and visitors to stop for a break or breakfast.

In the end, the farmers market experience is a wonderful and unique one. It feels like a relic of the past blended perfectly with a forward-thinking sense of local responsibility and self-support. It has all of the fun and fanfare of a summer festival coupled with the affordability and ease of a trip to the grocery store. Where else can you buy a cinnamon roll from the woman who baked it, pick up some produce to take home, meet up with your friends and neighbors, take in great live music and still make it home before noon?

All local farmers markets are taking place weekly now through the fall. For more details regarding the Carmel Farmers Market, Noblesville Farmers Market, Westfield Farmers Market, Saxony Market and Zionsville’s Brick Street Market, please see the Event Calendar.

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