When it comes to Hoosier farmers’ markets, all I need are the details—I’m there! Farmers’ markets are so vital to local economies. They support nearby farmers, invest dollars back into the local economy, and typically, they encourage a healthier diet with fresh harvested food. But I realized recently that as much as I love farmers’ markets, I don’t venture out enough of the nearby markets. So, over the course of the last few weeks, I did just that. And now, I’m ready to share some of my favorite aspects of four local markets along with a few things to consider before you visit.
Wednesdays | 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
I really love this market. The scenic view of the monument in the distance creates a true ambiance that feels local and cozy. Fruit, veggies, meats, cheeses, and baked goods—this market has it all! With vendors lined on either side of Market Street, there is plenty of space for leashed pets, strollers, and a whole lot of guests.
Really, my biggest complaint about this market is that it takes place on Wednesdays! If you can escape the office, it really breaks up the workday, but if you don’t have a place to store your purchases until it’s time to head home, it makes it difficult to stock up on produce. Plus, if you’re anything like me, you plan your meals the weekend before the week starts! Wednesday makes it hard to meal prep. That said, the market really is beautiful. It draws a great crowd and may be the perfect place to enjoy a walking meeting or outdoor lunch.
Saturdays | 9 a.m.-noon
I’m embarrassed to say this was my first trip to the Broad Ripple Farmers’ Market! I honestly wished I lived closer, this market would be a great place to bike or walk to. Situated behind Broad Ripple High School, it’s quiet and sectioned off from vehicular traffic. Similarly to the Original Farmers’ Market, they’ve organized this market with spacious walkways, which is so helpful as this was the busiest market I attended! I also ran into some of my favorite vendors—I’m talking to you Circle City Kombucha. This market also seemed to be the most pet friendly thanks to Three Dogs Bakery who had an awesome spread near the music area!
I’m not sure if the numbers verify this, but the Broad Ripple Farmers’ Market seemed to have more vendors than the Original Farmers’ Market. Which is part of the reason I was bummed there were no bags! Luckily for me—and many other guests—we brought our own backpacks or wagons, but without those we would have had to make multiple trips to the car to unload.
Saturdays | 8-11:30 a.m.
The Carmel Farmers’ Market might have been the largest market in terms of vendors, which means it’s a great place to spend some time browsing, learning about items for sale, and snacking along the way. Despite road construction in the area, parking in the City Center is really convenient, and there are scenic views at every angle. Because the market is so large, there’s also a great mix of vendors.
Just like when I was at the Broad Ripple Farmers’ Market, I was bummed there were no reusable shopping bags—the Fishers Farmers’ Market may have spoiled me! There was also no music playing at the Carmel market. In full disclosure, I was there right around 11 a.m., so perhaps it already ended? I shared my frustrations about Christkindlmarkt last winter—my son is low vision, and there were far too many trip hazards for us to enjoy our visit. But to my surprise, this wasn’t a problem at the farmers’ market. Pathways were filled with people, but no chords obstructed the walkways. Thanks for paying attention to this, Carmel!
Saturdays | 8 a.m.-noon
It’s probably unfair for me to evaluate Fishers, since I helped get the market off the ground when the City began overseeing it—but I couldn’t omit this market! The vendors are amazing. They’re happy to answer questions and always strive to build relationships with their customers. Week to week there are specialty days that give different visitors something fun to look forward to. I couldn’t even begin to name my favorite vendors—there are so many! And live music is scheduled each week, which creates an ambiance that makes it enjoyable to hang out with friends or pop in and out solo.
The Fishers Farmers’ Market is in a temporary location this summer due to construction on the Nickel Plate District AMP, and while that is frustrating as a driver, it works really well for the market. I’ve talked to more than a few friends, and we all agree—the street market set-up really works around the Municipal Complex. My only complaint about Fishers’ market comes after visiting Indy, Broad Ripple, and Carmel—there aren’t enough produce vendors! When I’m at Fishers I almost always get sucked into a cinnamon roll from Generation’s Pie Company (because come on!), cookies from Gluten-Free Creations, or eggrolls from Mathoo’s.
The best part? Central Indy has so many farmers’ markets to visit! I’ve only touched on four, but they’re four of the best out there. Hoosier Farmers Market Association actually notes, “As of July 2017, there are 179 confirmed farmers’ markets operating in Indiana.” So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and get yourself something locally produced and delicious to eat!