June 2018 Writer \/\/ Janelle Morrison\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0\u00a0 Photography \/\/ Jennifer Hersberger and CFM The Carmel Farmers Market is produced and managed by \u201ccommunity-minded\u201d volunteers and is headed up by an equally dedicated leadership team led by the market\u2019s President Ron Carter and Vice President Deborah Schmitz. While a market can\u2019t function without quality vendors,\u00a0 the volunteers are the heart and soul. We sat down with Schmitz and two of her fellow market volunteers, Laura Clark and Susan Bock, all from Carmel, to talk more about the relationships between the Carmel Farmers Market volunteers and vendors. \u201cWe make it a point to talk to our vendors and to get to know them personally,\u201d Schmitz said. \u201cWe ask them what they do and why they started their producing\/selling. We develop a personal family-like connection with them, especially the ones that we go out and physically visit. The farmers are small businesses that work hard. I love that commercial that says, \u2018Small business is a big business.\u2019 As a small business owner, I get that they work harder because they are the only ones responsible for their business.\u201d Clark added, \u201cGetting to know our vendors on this level gives me a new appreciation for them, and they are just so passionate about what they do.\u201d \u201cThere is the comfort in knowing where the food is coming from and when it was picked or produced,\u201d Bock said. \u201cWe know where the meat is coming from. When you go to the grocery store, look at where the meat is coming from. Some of it comes from China and other countries.\u201d Just as Schmitz, Clark and Bock are passionate about supporting the vendors, they also wish to recognize all the volunteers who work selflessly for the benefit of a first-class market and give a heartfelt thank you to those folks. \u201cI had been going to the market every Saturday, and I felt like I needed something else to do and wanted to get involved,\u201d Clark explained. \u201cSo, I just signed up, and this is my sixth summer with the market. I enjoy the constant brainstorming and coming up with fun things to do. After 20 years, we\u2019ve got to keep coming up with new ideas and keep it \u2018fresh.\u2019 I feel like the vendors are really innovative about what they are doing, and we have to keep up with them and be a market that the vendors want to be at. We feel like we have a stake in the vendors\u2019 success. We see how hard they are working their farms and businesses, and we want them to do well and want people to appreciate what they are doing.\u201d Bock moved to Carmel in 2010 and became involved with the market in 2011. \u201cBruce Kimball and Jennifer Hershberger enlisted me,\u201d she said. \u201cI was retired and needed something to do, and Jennifer said, \u2018You\u2019ll like this group of people. You will enjoy them,\u2019 and I did. Every year, I\u2019ve become more involved, and it\u2019s just my passion. You just kind of get hooked. The volunteers and vendors are fun people to be involved with. We\u2019ve been going on vendor visits for years, and you do form a personal attachment with those vendors. They\u2019re like family. Trust me, I enjoy the two-month break between the winter and summer markets, but I miss seeing those people. You get to know them personally and want to know what\u2019s been going on with them.\u201d Schmitz added, \u201cLaura and I go around every single week and talk to every brand new vendor. We ask them how they are doing and tell them that we take a personal stake in how they are doing at the market. And if they\u2019re not doing well, we want to be able to help them, so that they can be successful.\u201d \u201cOne of the important things about the market volunteers is that we are very welcoming,\u201d Bock said. \u201cWhen we get new volunteers, we bring them right into the fold, and we\u2019re like, \u2018Come on in. You\u2019re one of us now.\u2019 If one of our volunteers needs help in any way, we\u2019d all be there to help.\u201d \u201cWe\u2019ve got several new volunteers this summer, and they\u2019re doing awesome,\u201d Schmitz said. \u201cWe feel like they\u2019re part of the family already.\u201d Check the Carmel Farmers Market website, carmelfarmersmarket.com, for weekly updates on what\u2019s new and available!