Rupert Howell Column

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Rupert Howell

Downtown abuzz during Farmers Market Wednesday

Conditions could not have been better for the first Batesville Farmers Market held on the “courthouse” side of the Batesville Square last Wednesday afternoon.

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There were plenty of vendors, customers and as well as an abundance of produce and other homemade and home grown items for all to see and buy.

There was also a plenty of excitement, at least some of it brought on by the absence of high humidity, which in weeks past would have stifled any enthusiasm within a few minutes of one’s arrival.

Some likened the occasion to the former Art Mart held in Batesville’s Pecan Grove in past years on the last Saturday in June. I don’t know how much art was sold back then, but a heap of visiting occurred there on an annual basis.

But at the farmers market we don’t have to wait another year to visit. The clock resets each week, at least through growing season, and we do it again tomorrow.

While some vendors may have regular outlets with other farmers markets and specific buyers, some are just selling surplus that they normally would have given away. That they would make money from this is a bonus for them and for us consumers who cherish their over abundance.

We have known for a while that eating fresh fruits and veggies contributes to good health and eating fresh fruits and veggies grown locally has additional health benefits as well as additional economic benefits for our community. It is a sure bet that any money spent at the local farmers market is going back into the local economy.

While the novelty may wear off for some following the first farmers market, others feeling the original enthusiasm will hopefully jump on the wagon to help make this event successful throughout the growing season and spring back into existence again next growing season.

Kudos to the Main Street Program and the City of Batesville and others who have worked together and made the market come to fruition as well as others like Jennifer Tidwell who has patiently been advocating the need for such an outlet for months and years.

It is good for the economy and our health both physically and mentally.

Speaking of health—of 18 items listed in a survey on the Web site, homemade fried pies led the list with 26 percent of the vote when respondents were asked which item they were most looking forward to purchasing. Those pies were some of the first items to be sold out.

Go figure.