Farmers market sees increased attendance, gets new home

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The Carmel Farmer’s Market wrapped up a successful year before making the move to a new home at the Center for the Performing Arts.

The move comes at a prime time for the Carmel Farmer’s Market, which has been growing and expanding in its current location in front of city hall for the past 11 years. Attendance for 2010 was up 12 percent over last year’s numbers, a significant boost over the average 5 percent attendance increase per year.

“We attribute the increase to the dramatically growing interest in local foods, especially the concern that people have regarding food safety,” said City Councilman and Market Director Ron Carter.

In the new space at the Village Green in front of the Palladium, Carter said the Market will benefit from a variety of changes. Primarily, the largest complaint facing the current location is the limited parking and set up required from volunteers to manage traffic cones and barriers. On the green, parking is much simpler as the Palladium’s parking garage can be used to hold the nearly 2,600 average visitors that come to the market on any given Saturday.

Moreover, the space itself is much larger, which will allow the market to continue to expand and include a greater variety of food vendors. At the green, the actual spaces for the vendors will be increased also of accommodate space needs, and the Rotary Amphitheater will be able to host musicians who perform during the market each weekend.

Carter said the green is not just going to be the new home for the Farmer’s Market and the benefits extend far into Carmel’s interest in art and design. “It’ not just the Farmer’s Market space,” he said. “It can used for other events, including art shows and festivals. At an art festival we can have up to 150 spaces for artists. And on June 11 we’ll share the space with the Carmel Marathon. It’s a shared space.”

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