Farmers Markets Not Only Feed Our Bellies, They Feed Our Souls Too

September 2019

Writer // Janelle Morrison             Photography //  Jennifer Hershberger and submitted

It has been an incredible 21st season for the volunteers, vendors and patrons of the Carmel Farmers Market (CFM) and another great year of events and fellowship for the books. As the season winds down, there is still much to do at the market and a smorgasbord of late summer/early fall products to purchase from all of your favorite vendors.

Seasonal favorites, such as apples, jams, jellies, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, mushrooms, potatoes, snap beans, summer squash, winter squash, baked goods, mums, fall flower arrangements, etc., are the first hint of the impending seasonal shift that takes us from hazy summer days to the cool, crisp autumn mornings.

Before we sign off on the summer season, we’d like to thank the artists and musicians who have contributed to the market and those who will continue to share their talent with marketgoers of the Carmel Winter Market—opening in October. Two of these artists, in particular, are deserving of recognition for their contributions: Blair Clark and Jules Muck.

“The Carmel Farmers Market has always felt that, besides bringing the best of Indiana-grown and/or produced foods to the residents of Carmel, that it should play a broader role in regard to the culture of the community,” CFM president Ron Carter shared. “For years, the Market Committee has made music part of the Saturday morning market scene. Last year, the committee added music to the Winter Market by hiring Blair Clark to perform during many of the winter Saturdays.”

Farmers Markets Not Only Feed Our Bellies

As a resident of Carmel for 30 years, Clark has a strong passion for supporting the city’s amenities such as the farmers markets and enjoys contributing to the magical atmosphere that the CFM volunteers and vendors create.

“It’s like an extended family,” Clark said. “It’s [Carmel Winter Market] an eclectic group of vendors and marketgoers—much like the summer market. People can shop and eat, and there’s an area where people can sit and eat and watch the performances. When I’m performing, kids will come up and dance, and then the parents start dancing with their kids, and there’s all this positive energy created. We even get some of the vendors to come up and sing, and it’s really a wonderful family atmosphere.”

Clark is known for his outstanding pop, jazz, R&B and soul renditions, as well as his innate ability to fill a room with an energy that energizes the soul—especially right before the holidays at the Winter Market.

 “We play a lot of holiday songs, and everybody is singing at the market,” he said. “It’s truly a very magical atmosphere, and I hope to see many people from our community there this season.”

When Ron Carter, the Market Committee president, saw in a newspaper article that nationally known muralist Jules Muck was going to be working for a week in the central Indiana area, he contacted her by email to see if she would be interested in working in Carmel. Muck said she had an artist friend who lives in Carmel. So, she immediately agreed to do her famous—or infamous—bunny murals, with a family-friendly food theme on the building.

You may have seen local news reports about Muck’s mural of Larry Bird in downtown Indy that included her famous bunnies on Bird’s forearm.  It created quite a national media buzz.  

According to Carter, “We were able to accomplish three things by working with Jules. First, we were able to continue adding in a meaningful way to the artistic culture of Carmel by bringing a nationally recognized art installation to the city. Second, we were able to bring much higher visibility to the site of the Winter Market. When people ask us where the market is located, instead of telling them it is right across the street from the water tower, we can now tell them to just look for the bunnies on the building. Third, we wanted to bring a sense of whimsy to the area that would appeal to everyone, no matter their age.”

Muck began her career as a graffiti artist in Europe and throughout the U.K. in the ’90s. She has been published in numerous books and has had worked on numerous collaborative projects with notable muralists and fellow artists. She was one of the first females to paint at 106th and Park Hall, of fame in NYC, and did installation with the Guerrilla Girls for the lobby of the Bronx Museum of Art. Muck has painted murals for TV shows and movies, including “Under the Dome,” “Mr. Mercedes” and “IT.” Muck’s humanitarian efforts have included painting murals in Syrian refugee camps and Miami’s Juvenile Detention Center. Muck’s real passion is to paint on things she’s not supposed to paint on, but those opportunities are rapidly decreasing as she is invited to paint on more and more walls throughout the nation.

Farmers Markets Not Only Feed Our Bellies

“I went really big with some very basic images that celebrates the norm,” Muck said as she explained her mural, which is now visible at the Wire Factory in Carmel. “I didn’t do anything wild and fancy or complicated. I took everyday, basic images and blew them up to extraordinary proportions. I can’t tell anybody what to think when they look at it, and I hope they have their own experiences, but for me it was the whole ‘less is more,’ and I love painting my bunnies. These are not like my ‘normal’ bunnies—these are really well-behaved bunnies. Anybody who knows my work knows what’s up when they see this mural. I try to paint for the people. Every time I paint, I have a good intention to please people and make them laugh or make them feel happy. I apply this Oscar Wilde quote to my work, ‘Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault.’”

 Visit the markets website for a complete list of September events at the Carmel Farmers Market at Center Green and for the list of vendors and entertainment for the upcoming Winter Market season at carmelfarmersmarket.com.