A Brilliant Mix of Old and New This Season at the Farmers Market

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May 2024

This season at the Carmel Farmers Market, look forward to the return of a beloved tradition: the Firehouse Cookoff on June 29, when local firehouses compete in a culinary showdown. Additionally, Ginger Root Plant Co., specializing in indigenous planting, and Bear Fruit Farms, known for their microgreens, will host informative classes this summer. For those interested in unique transportation, Rahal Piaggio will showcase their range of motor scooters and motorcycles, adding an exciting new element to the market experience.

New at Carmel Farmers Market

A Word from CFM President and Vice President

CFM President Lisa McLaughlin moved to Carmel in 2019. To acclimate herself and meet people, she began volunteering in the community. Her introduction to the Carmel Farmers Market led to an immediate appreciation for its vibrant ambiance and diverse offerings.

New at Carmel Farmers Market

“There’s such wonderful people at the market,” McLaughlin expressed. “They took me under their wing, and it’s incredible how many people I’ve met and all the things that I’ve done in town now because of the farmers market. Carmel doesn’t pretend to be something that it’s not. It knows it’s niche and it does a great job at it, which lends to a more authentic feel.”

When asked about stepping into the role as CFM president and what her immediate and long-term goals are for the beloved farmers market, McLaughlin said, “We don’t ever want to change the good things about the market. I don’t mind change, but you have to make thoughtful and slow changes. We’re going to keep bringing fresh and nutritious foods to the community of Carmel, and we’re going to continue to bring in the best vendors and the best variety. We want to continue bringing great music to the community, and we want to keep all the smiles on the faces … that’s what we want to do. We want the market to be a place people can go to and say, ‘I remember when I was little, I used to come here with grandma,’ or whomever. We want the Carmel Farmers Market to be part of everyone’s life.”

McLaughlin spoke about some of the new events that have been added to the market’s calendar, all designed to enhance community engagement.

“This year, we have the Indiana Master Gardener program coming to the market, and we’re talking with the Indiana State Department of Agriculture about coming to the market, and we’re having our celebrity bell ringers … it’s fun. We do a little bit of an interview, asking the ringers what they like about the market and what they do in the community. We want to keep highlighting our community because that’s what [this market] is all about. If we didn’t have the community and the vendors, we wouldn’t have this market.”

When asked about the status of the CFM volunteers, McLaughlin gave credit to the market’s volunteer coordinator Samantha Miller.

“Samantha is awesome with our volunteers,” McLaughlin emphasized. “We’ve had so many people want to volunteer because of Sam’s wonderful personality … she’s so engaging and warm. She has developed our volunteer program, and it’s just taking off.”

CFM Vice President Mark Roger spoke about the impressive attendance on the market’s opening day and the importance of the market’s corporate sponsors.

“We broke an opening day record in attendance, with 5,573 attending,” Roger said. “The crowd has changed so much. On the first day [of the summer season], there were a lot of young families and single people, which means the market has life and a future … everyone’s finding value in it.”

New at Carmel Farmers Market

Roger added, “We have wonderful corporate sponsors, and I believe that there’s an awful lot [of] potential just by the sheer volume of people that we welcome [to the market] every week.”

There are wonderful CFM sponsorship opportunities available, as existing sponsors and CFM’s presenting sponsor IU Health North can attest to. Roger spoke about increasing the engagement opportunities for the market’s sponsors this season, such as IU Health North contributing recipes via its dieticians. Roger’s wife Randi will include the recipes in her CFM e-newsletters. These recipes will incorporate featured seasonal fruits and vegetables as they become available at the market.

Roger added, “I’m working with each of our sponsors and looking at how we [CFM] can personify what these corporate sponsors do to improve life experiences in Carmel. One of my goals this summer is to look for ways to create more of an experience for people who come to the [Carmel] farmers market and how we might be able to incorporate those into our programming. Pedcor [Companies], another of our sponsors, and IU Health North have been fundamental in our [market] experiences. The Carmel Clay Historical Society has signed on [as a sponsor] as well, and we’re talking with them about providing a kids’ project—an arts and crafts type of project—with a history background as something for the kids to do. We’re trying to find some activities to engage the kids so that parents can hang around [the market] a little bit longer.”

For a complete list of vendors, entertainment and information on how to become a volunteer or sponsor of the Carmel Farmers Market, visit carmelfarmersmarket.com.

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