Seasons come and go, and while many think of farmers' markets to be a summer activity, Bowling Green has one specifically designed for the winter months.
Work Leads to Independence is the home base for the event at 991 S. Main St., every Wednesday from Oct. 23 to Dec. 18.
The idea to extend the farmers' market through the winter season came about three years ago. Many farmers reached out to the Farmers’ Market Manager of Sales Lori Hines to find a way to keep selling produce.
“A couple of the produce people still needed to sell their broccoli and cauliflower and just those winter things up until December,” Hines said.
Most weeks the farmers' market takes place inside the WLI building, but it recently moved outside with the rise in COVID-19 cases. Inside, 10 vendors are allowed to set up in the pre-measured, socially distant spaces with their own supplies.
“Most only 10 (vendors) wanted to come because a lot of the other people (had already) sold their produce. Their produce usually ends at the end of the summer,” Hines said.
Dirty Feet Gardens and Riehm Produce Farm are two of the produce-based sellers at the market. Dave Moenter of Dirty Feet Gardens specializes in different-colored cauliflower, like purple and yellow, as well as brussel sprouts and broccoli. He says he is one of the only people in this area to sell locally grown brussel sprouts, making them a hot commodity.
Other popular items seen at the market vary from crocheted hats, to scarves and mittens to homemade baked goods.
“We have a gentleman who brings mushrooms, like all kinds of mushrooms, things I’ve never seen in my life before,” Hines said.
The plan is to continue weekly markets up until Thanksgiving and then evaluate whether they should continue that way or switch to biweekly.
Stephanie Russell of 7th Heaven Creations Bakery is a mobile license bakery that sells at the market. Though she hasn’t had too many experiences with the market, she loves selling products like the Buckeye Brownie and Lemon Bars in that environment.
“I had a super hectic summer and was only able to participate in one of the outdoor markets, and then the winter markets started and I jumped in on that,” Russell said.
Farmers' markets are a perfect spot for entrepreneurs to network.
“I like to get out and talk to people, I always address,” Russell said. “Even if I know you’re not going to buy from me or anything, I still love meeting and greeting and you also get to know other vendors which is actually really nice.”
While it's been a few weeks since the market has begun, the success is already more than Hines expected.
“(Oct. 28) was our first one and we were a lot busier than I expected. We’ve been advertising in newspapers and stuff,” Hines said. “Throughout the course of the night we probably had 70ish (customers), because half way through I had to start doing head counts.”