The Tuesday Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market and A Fair of the Arts will both open for the first time this summer on Tuesday at Switchyard Park.
The Tuesday Farmers’ Market will take place every single Tuesday at the brick plaza near the Switchyard Park Pavilion, while A Fair of the Arts will take place biweekly every other Tuesday on the Pavilion lawn, according to a City of Bloomington press release. Both markets will run from 4-7 p.m.
This is the first year that A Fair of the Arts will be held in conjunction with the Tuesday Farmers’ Market, according to the press release. Admission to both events is free.
The Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market also takes place on Saturday mornings.
“Tuesday's market is convenient for those people that really can't get away on the weekend or would love to have additional offerings through the week,'' Farmers’ Market Coordinator Clarence Boone said.
Boone said a weekday farmers’ market made locally sourced, healthy food more accessible to the Bloomington community.
“There was a desire to expand the offering to the public of fresh food and for some vendors it's convenient to also vend during the week,” Boone said. “This is a wonderful way to provide for a need that was in the community.”
A Fair of the Arts showcases the artwork and fine crafts made by local artists. Each fair will feature up to five artists. In addition to every other Tuesday, A Fair of the Arts will take place on the third Friday of every month from July through October.
The farmers’ market also highlights the importance of local products. Boone said the benefit of the farmers’ market is that people know they are supporting local farmers and small businesses while also receiving the freshest, healthiest food possible. Products sold at the farmers’ market must meet health department guidelines and be GMO free, Boone said.
“You can rest assured that the food that you're getting is nutritious and healthy,” Boone said. “I've been trying to provide this for people in the city so they can be more health conscious and they get delicious food seasonally through the summer and into the fall.”
Everyone should have access to nutritious food regardless of income, Boone said. According to the press release, the Double Market Bucks program means people can double their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits at the farmers’ market. SNAP participants can use up to $27 of their benefits to buy $54 worth of Market Bucks, which function as gift certificates that can be used to buy products at the Bloomington farmers’ market.
According to the press release, the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program offers waivers to low-income seniors and Women, Children and Infant Program participants to purchase fresh produce. The FMNP benefits are tripled this year due to a nearly $80,000 grant from the Bloomington Parks Foundation, according to the press release.
Boone said he encouraged everyone to explore the farmers’ market by trying new products and speaking to the vendors.
“All you have to do is go the first time and you might get hooked,” Boone said. “Think of a venue where you can go and get healthy, nutritious seasonal food. Food that is farm to plate that will not only be tasty, it’s healthy for you too.”