SELLERSBURG — When the Sellersburg parks board asked Kathy Hensley to set up at their new farmer’s market, she wasn’t sure what to think.
First of all, the market was beginning mid-way through the season. Most vendors and their customers are already established by then.
“But it just took off,” said Hensley, whose livestock operations Hensley Homegrown sells meat at the market. “The first couple weeks were were just kind of crazy.”
The trial phase of the Sellersburg Farmer’s Market that began the first week of July has proved there’s an eager appetite for this kind of amenity in the small town. People line up at 3:30 p.m., waiting for the market to begin, some vendors said.
Located in Wilkerson Park from 4-8 p.m. every Wednesday, the market is an initiative from a parks board looking to provide Sellersburg with more activities.
“Sellersburg has grown quite a bit … and I think [new residents] are looking for things to do in town,” said Glennis Wisdom, who has been on the parks board for about two decades.
In a municipality without a town executive, it’s been up to the parks board to oversee the public pool and the handful of small parks.
But now board members want to take a more active role in the community by creating events.
“We felt like other communities are growing and having activities and getting more involved,” Wisdom said. “I think in the past, [town residents] probably looked elsewhere because we didn’t have much.”
The Wednesday market also gives people something to do in the middle of the week, and it doesn’t compete with any others.
It hasn’t cost the town any money, Wisdom said, and they’re not charging a vendor’s fee. Board members just made some calls to local vendors.
“As long as they have ample products, we’ll keep it going,” he said.
Sellersburg resident Kim Pearl, who visited the market Wednesday, is happy to see the town is taking note from surrounding communities.
“We just need more things in our area … It’s nice to see it happening here,” Pearl said.
Another Sellersburg resident, Michelle Branham, can now get her fresh produce from a market just down the road, instead of at the New Albany Farmer’s Market where she used to visit.
“I just appreciate being able to get the fresh vegetables and everything and not have to go so far,” Branham said.
The market also meets a trend toward local food sourcing, as more and more people want to know where their food comes from and how it was grown or raised.
B&C Farms sells vegetables that are about as fresh as you can get.
Ben Shireman, one of its founders, picked sweet corn from the stalk, loaded it on a truck and took it straight to the market Wednesday. The oldest vegetable, usually tomatoes, weren’t plucked form the vine longer than 24 hours ago.
“We pick every day of the week, and we try to get rid of it the next day,” Casey Hentrup Shireman said.
B&C Farms has moved away from wholesale production and instead toward direct consumer sales. That way, their customers meet their farmers. It’s a way to educate the public about local food and be a voice for the agriculture community, Hentrup Shireman said.
To many, access to a hometown farmer’s market is also about good food.
“To have freshly grown vegetables is awesome,” Sellersburg resident Melissa Spencer said. “Mine aren’t doing so well.”
Wisdom said to expect more new initiatives from the Sellersburg Parks and Recreation board.
“I think a lot of it too is the camaraderie of getting out and coming together,” he said.