By Nancy R. Elliott For The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ANDERSON — Maybe we’re still hunkered down from a brutal winter, but spring really is just around the corner. Anderson City Market is already prepping for the launch of the second season of the downtown farmers market.
City Market organizer Jody Townsend is hosting an informational meeting for interested vendors on March 27 at 6:30 p.m. at the Fire Training Center, 5812 Martin Luther King Blvd.
Vendors will learn about the nuts and bolts of the market, the upcoming season and its goals. Vendor applications will be available. The market’s opening day is set for May 3, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Anderson’s Athletic Park.
“I am having vendors calling from all over right now,” said Townsend. She said that vendors were watching the market last year. “They liked what they saw.”
The market was the brainchild of Townsend and Brad Land. It features local produce and baked goods, as well as the work of local artisans, on Saturday mornings throughout the summer. They pulled the project together last year for the first time.
“It exceeded all our expectations. Vendors are happy. Shoppers are happy. It’s something that people look forward to on Saturday mornings.” Townsend sees it as a win-win for everyone.
“It makes fresh food available in the community, and supports local growers and small businesses,” said Townsend. “It helps the community. It helps with unity and involvement. We’re such an indoor, on-the-computer society — we hope to help get people out and talking to each other again.”
In 2013, the market started out with 13 vendors, and topped out at 40. This year, Townsend said she’d be happy to have 50 vendors.
“We’re easy to work with. It’s low cost. The people are buying customers,” said Townsend.
Dick and Jude Sochacki of Apple of His Eye Orchards were among last year’s vendors, and they’ll be back this year.
“It was outstanding,” said Sochacki, noting that Anderson’s farmers market reflects a new, refreshing shift for the community.
“There’s a change in attitude. It’s a positive outlook. It’s the idea people can move forward,” said Sochacki. He noted that people like Townsend and Land are among a youthful corps of local folks making things happen. “They’re not living in the past. They’re moving forward.”
MUGS Coffee and Tea will also be back. Their experience at the City Market turned out to be a game changer.
“The farmers market had a big influence on us and our business plan,” said MUGS owner Skye Huff. “We saw a huge response from our client and new clients … It helped us decide to open our retail location.” The Nichol Avenue coffee shop opened its doors just over two weeks ago in Edgewood.
MUGS was originally a wholesale operation. Huff said they intended to make the next step a food truck, but after the farmers market experience, the decision was to go brick and mortar first.
“It was a huge impact on us,” said Huff.
Townsend said there are a few new things in the works for this season’s market:
- Farmers will be able to donate excess produce at the end of market day to the Fifth Street United Methodist Church food bank.
- Catapult Fitness will be coming on site to have drop-in classes during the market for kids to adults.
- White River Bicycling Coalition, Buckskin Bikes and the Madison County Council of Government will be providing bicycle racks each market day.
- The market will be working with other events scheduling the park, like the June 7 Archers Tournament.
- Organizers would like to have musicians again, and maybe an open mic event each month.
- Before launch time, the ACM website should be up, complete with vendor applications and info, links to vendor websites, map and calendar.
- Townsend said they’d like to see more artists in the market mix this year. She’s also hoping to get some food trucks lined up.
Last year’s market was able to set aside dollars from the modest vendor fees to donate to the park’s pool restoration, and they expect to do so again this year.
For more info, check out ACM’s Facebook page, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go What: Informational meeting for Anderson City Market vendors When: March 27 at 6:30 p.m. Where: Fire Training Center, 5812 Martin Luther King Blvd., Anderson Opening day of market: May 3, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Athletic Park