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As farmers' market season approaches, organizers plan to increase accessibility

PLAN: Wabash Marketplace Project Coordinator Tyler Karst puts together a vendor packet in preperation for the season opening Wabash Farmers’ Market May 19.

by ANDREW MACIEJEWSKI - amaciejewski@wabashplaindealer.com

The Wabash Farmers’ Market plans to grow operations this year through an expansion of programs for children and low-income families, which organizers hope will make the market more accessible to the community.

Last year, the Wabash Farmers’ Market grew from 26 vendors in 2016 to 36 vendors in 2017. In order to see similar expansions in community involvement, Wabash Marketplace Inc.’s project coordinator, Tyler Karst, has been working to expand children’s programing and use of federal food assistance programs to pay for locally-sourced produce.

Karst said the goal is to make locally-sourced produce available to all, including those who use SNAP and WIC.

In 2017, the Wabash Farmers’ Market began accepting food stamp benefits to allow low-income families better access to locally-sourced products that meet federal assistance requirements. Market vendors also accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits and Electronic Benefits Transnfer (EBT) cards to buy perishable items like bread, cereal, produce, meat and dairy products.

Karst said he hopes the increased awareness will allow even more people to be involved in the national trend to bring communities together in support of local business while enjoying live music and activities for all ages.

“The trend for local, fresh, ready-to-eat items is not something that is letting up anytime soon,” Karst said. “Thousands of local shoppers frequent the market during the season and cannot wait for it to open each season. The market is a time for local farmers and home based vendors to showcase their items to the many that pass through each weekend.”

The Wabash Farmers’ Market will be open every Saturday from May 19 through Oct. 20, from 8 a.m. to noon in the Honeywell Center-Elks Lodge parking lot at the corner of Market and Cass streets.

Several vendors have already been approved to accept WIC benefits, including HOFF Produce, Cordes Berry Farm, The Denney Farm, Doud’s Orchard and RiverRidge Farm.

Other vendors expected include Buckler’s Sweets, Daniels Creek Farm Natural Goats Soaps and Lotions, Mikki Bishop and Ernie Kerlin, My Dad’s Sweet Corn, SweetRose Sugar Scrubs and Troy & Rachel Guyer.

Visitors will be able to browse local artisan wares, fresh produce, handmade furniture, woodworking and a variety of prepared food items.