Farmers markets on the rise


Maiah Woodring/The Lion’s Roar

Summer Veatch, right, from Candlestick Bakery, believes that the best part of being a vendor is talking with the customers.

Vendors at the local Hammond Farmers Market reported seeing more attendees at their booths compared to previous years.

The growth of farmers markets has gained national attention too. According to a study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the amount of registered farmers markets increased 76% between 2008 and 2014.

“There’s definitely a trend going on right now that’s very health conscious, and that is something I think Hammond has been familiar with for a long time,” said Olivia Graziano, farmers market manager at the Hammond Downtown Development District. “I think that farmers markets, they fit perfectly in our Hammond culture, but nationally, you see it all over social media. People are really health conscious. They’re wanting fresh, organic, or they’re on a keto diet, or they’re following those healthy trends and so, we’re fitting into that category.”

Summer Veatch, a vendor from Candlestick Bakery, discussed the popularity of farmers markets.

“You get to kind of an apex of people are tired of commodity products and they realize how bad it is,” shared Veatch. “So they’re kind of going back towards local, homegrown, homemade, scratch stuff. And then, I mean maybe eventually, it will turn back the other way again, but I think this is where we’re at right now.”

Graziano takes advantage of advertising for the Hammond Farmers Market through various social media platforms, on billboards and by an email list to maintain the rising popularity even if the health trend dies.

“It’s important for people to understand that when you shop locally, you’re really stimulating your own economy,” shared Graziano. “The vendors that we have here, they all have a great backstory, and I think just encouraging our customers to continue to reach out to those vendors and talk with them when they shop with us. That’s gonna go a long way in terms of understanding where your food’s coming from, understanding the person that’s growing it or making it.”

Brandon Faust, a vendor from Faust Farms, has been attending various farmers markets for over 10 years and started attending the Hammond Farmers Market two years ago. As a board member for the DDD farmers market, he believes the convenience of a farmers market plays a role in its popularity boom.

“I think of a farmers market as like a one-stop shop that wants to like basically cancel out the option of going to the grocery store,” shared Faust. “People want to come here and be able to go grocery shopping and not have to go to the grocery store. So, we’ve been trying to get some new vendors here to really make that happen.”

In order to preserve popularity of farmers markets on the national level, networking is crucial.

“Farmers markets on a national scale can do a better job in terms of connecting with one another,” explained Graziano. “I know that oftentimes when I’m trying to think of a new idea to get people to come to our market or I’m trying to fill vendor void, I reach out to other markets, and I say, ‘Hey, what’s a product that is a hot seller that we might not have?’ things like fresh-made butter. That’s something that we just added to our lineup, and it’s been a really big hit.”


CORRECTION: The article initially stated that Summer Veatch was a vendor from Gracious Bakery + Cafe. It has since been updated to say that she is a vendor of Candletstick Bakery. – April 29, 2019