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Four-season city: Fishers’ Parks and Recreation Dept. implements winter farmers market to entertain residents through dreary months.

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By Anna Skinner

The opportunity to bring home farm fresh vegetables, local goods and enjoy hot Mathoo’s egg rolls at the Fishers Farmers Market hasn’t ended quite yet.

Although market visitors won’t get to enjoy the summer sunshine while they shop, they can still find the goods of approximately 20 vendors inside the Billericay Park facility, 12690 Promise Rd., beginning 9 a.m. Nov. 5.

“(This year) was the first year the city operated the Fishers Farmers Market in the summer, and the winter farmers market is inaugural this year,” Parks Director Tony Elliot said. “We had a lot of interest from vendors and the public for creating a winter farmers market. This summer was the most successful summer market we’ve had, so it was a natural opportunity to create a winter market.”

With farmers using green houses or poly-low tunnels, a three-foot by six-foot hoop outside that grows vegetables through the majority of the winter months, fresh produce will be available to shoppers.

One vendor, Zach and Beth Brown from Grace and Truth Farms in Rossville, Ind., drives nearly an hour to reach the winter market in Fishers. This will be Grace and Truth Farms first winter market, although they are already situated with poly-low tunnels which provide it with vegetables through January. The Browns also sell at the Fishers summer market.

“The market provides something to do during the winter, everybody gets stir crazy, so this will be a nice opportunity to get outside of the house and connect with people and just something to do during the winter months. We (the city) gets kind of quiet then,” said Casey Cawthon, City of Fishers marketing and public relations manager.

Winter advisories will be on the city’s radar, but Cawthon is confident that the public works department will do an efficient job keeping Billericay Park clear for attendees.

“It’s a goal for the parks and rec department and city as a whole for that quality of life and an opportunity to truly be four seasons,” Elliot said. “You don’t get a sense of community like at the farmers market. Billericay Park is the geographic center of the City of Fishers. We put a lot of effort, time and programming here in the Nickel Plate District, but putting the market at Billericay serves the community equitably.”

The market will be 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays through March 18. Items other than fresh foods available  include fresh soaps, dried flowers, guacamole and, of course, the eggrolls.

“Mathoo’s eggrolls can’t be over-stated,” Elliot said. “They’re the hit of the summer market, so having them back is great, and they will be one of our anchor tenants at the winter market.”

Prior to the city taking control of the market, the chamber of commerce organized it each year. However, after the successful first summer, city officials are confident the winter market will be equally popular.

“(The market) has been a great, great thing for the community just as a meeting spot,” Market Master Lisa Wilkins said. “It really is terrific, and the winter market is a great way to extend the market season and increase availability of fresh produce and local products so they’re available throughout year.”

For more, visit fishers.in.us/farmersmarket.

Food Recovery Network partnership

In addition to launching a winter market, Market Master Lisa Wilkins said the farmers market has partnered with Food Recovery Network, an organization that collects unwanted or unsold food for local shelters.

“This summer we started a new partnership with the Food Recovery Network where they would rescue food from our vendors that they may not be able to use because they didn’t sell it,” Wilkins said. “They would take it downtown to local shelters. We will be partnering with them again in the winter.”

For more, visit foodrecoverynetwork.org.


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