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Carrying on the Tradition

Madison Farmers Market moves
inside for winter for first time

The market features food,
live music, crafts and more

By Laura Hodges
Contributing Writer

(November 2010) – Very quietly, Madison became part of an elite group last year. When the Madison Farmers Market moved indoors for the winter, Madison became one of only eight cities in Indiana to operate year-round farmers markets.
Now that vendors are already pulling on their coats and mittens, it’s time to think about moving indoors again.

Gary Duckworth

Photo by Laura Hodges

Gary Duckworth
cooks at the Madison
Farmers Market.

Starting Saturday, Nov. 6, the farmers market will open in the former Kernen Hardware building at 303 W. Main St. Hours will be 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays only.
Market Manager Dave Adams said he is excited about the new location, which provides a large open area for vendors to display their products, as well space for dining and entertainment. He is starting to think about craft fairs and flea market days.
Gary Duckworth, co-owner of Paradise Cove Catering, is already dreaming of “Tropical Day” in January. For the past five years, he and his wife, Suzan, have cooked fresh, open air breakfasts for farmers market visitors.
The new location provides a partial kitchen, but the Duckworths plan to operate much the same way they do during the summer, with only a few changes in the menu. Customers will still be able to order blueberry pancakes, biscuits and gravy, and other popular fare.
John Walburn and friends will continue to provide guitar and vocal music while customers eat breakfast or stroll among the vendor booths.
“Music really helps create that festival atmosphere,” said Duckworth. “I think we’ve gone a long way toward making this a community event.”
At the height of the season, Duckworth serves breakfast to a couple of hundred people. Many more came to buy tomatoes, green beans and sweet corn in season.
Last winter, when the market moved indoors to the 605 Grille on Saturdays, Duckworth averaged 50 to 60 customers per day. He hopes that those loyal “regulars” will be joined by new market customers in this new venue.
Stephanie Ginn is one of the vendors who will display their wares at the indoor market. On a recent Saturday, Ginn was selling three kinds of pumpkins, eggplant, peppers and decorative bittersweet. As the seasons change, she will introduce baked goods and holiday decorations made with cedar and other greenery. The new location, with its big windows and open design, appeals to her.
Ginn, a first-year vendor who lives on Pleasant Ridge, said farming is her main work. She enjoys it because it allows her to remain close to her three children. She’s already planning to build a greenhouse so she can grow more produce earlier for the spring market.
Madison-based artist Carolyn Lopez sold her watercolors throughout the past year, including the winter months. “It works out pretty well, especially before Christmas because I sold lots of my small paintings for Christmas presents. You can buy an original painting for $18 to $32.”
She thinks the former Kernen Hardware location is exciting. “It’s right on Main Street. I think if people will give us a chance and come down, they will like it.”
Tom Hatton is another vendor who will sell right through the winter. His local honey and beeswax have been mainstays of the market for four or five years. “I plan on being there through the whole season. It will depend a little bit on what happens during the holiday season,” he added.
Last season he made fewer sales in the winter months, but it was still worth his time to come to market on Saturday mornings.
“I’m thinking this year will be better because we’ve got a bigger space. We can have a bigger variety of things.
And there is a city parking lot right across the road,” said Hatton.
The Madison Farmers Market is the oldest continuous farmers market in Indiana. An 1809 deed book shows local merchants gave land to the county to construct a wooden market house at the corner of Main and Jefferson streets, now the Jefferson County Courthouse location. In modern times – until the time of the courthouse fire in May 2009 – the farmers market operated on the west and north sides of the courthouse.
For the summers of 2009 and 2010, the market has been located in the park surrounding the Broadway Fountain. This, too, is a historic market location. In the 1840s, the “lower market” was located in the Broadway area, at the same time the main farmers market operated on Jefferson Street.

• The Madison Farmers Market has a calendar of coming events on its website, www.madisonindianafarmersmarket.com. Christmas craft bazaars will be held from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 20 and Dec. 11. The fee to rent a booth is $10 for the day. For information call (630) 638-3959 or (812) 265-8313.

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