Area summer farmers markets are growing like a healthy crop.
So say organizers of the seasonal gatherings, highlighting crops to crafts, kicking off this weekend in Columbus and Hope. The Columbus markets run through Sept. 17, and Hope’s operates monthly — except for weekly in July — on the first Friday of every month through Sept. 2.
The Columbus Farmers Market, which planted itself downtown in 2008, has blossomed to host crowds estimated as large as 2,000 people in the Cummins Inc. parking lot along Brown Street in prime weather, coordinator Becky Church said.
“This time of year, people are just happy to get out and enjoy themselves amid the market experience again,” Church said.
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The downtown gathering, the largest of the three local stops, features 120 vendors rotating throughout the summer among 92 booths.
Daily’s Farm Market of Columbus has been among the staples for the past two seasons.
Manager Kristen Daily mentioned that the outdoor event has helped boost the family’s clientele.
“We have done very well, especially on the nice-weather days there,” Daily said. “We’ve definitely seen a pickup in our (overall) business.”
She referred to the family’s storefront market on Jonathan Moore Pike.
Come Saturday at the street market, family members will offer green beans, zephyr squash, zucchini, spinach, radishes, tomatoes and other items. Last year, items typically sold out by the end of the morning, according to Daily.
Jan Banister, a member of the local Banister Family Bluegrass Band, is among the acts performing from 10 to noon at the downtown market. The weekend opens with Wild Azalia Blue.
“I think the music, usually something very earthy and homey, fits perfectly with the market,” Banister said. “It’s honestly one of our most fun events we play.”
The Columbus City Farmers Market at the FairOaks Mall parking lot on 25th Street will feature 15 vendors selling produce, pork, lamb, specialty breads and breakfast rolls, pulled pork sandwiches, herbs, plants, flowers and other items. Vouchers from the Women, Infants and Children program will be accepted.
“I thought we did great last year, and we seem to increase a little (in customers) every year,” coordinator Sande Hummel said. “Our regulars come to buy mostly produce, and they know our farmers pretty well.”
She added that senior customers with mobility issues seem to appreciate the city market’s smaller, more concise layout and close parking.
The Farmers Market of Hope includes several market vendors, live music and a cruise-in on the town square.
Columbus Farmers Market
When: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays from this weekend through Sept. 17, rain or shine.
Where: Cummins Inc. parking lot along Brown Street in Columbus.
Attractions: 82 to 92 vendors weekly, including produce, ready-to-eat foods, crafts, arts and more. Also live music.
Columbus City Farmer’s Market
When: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays from this weekend through Sept. 17.
Where: FairOaks Mall parking lot, 2380 25th St. in Columbus.
Attractions: 15 vendors offering produce, pork, lamb, specialty breads and other items.
Information: facebook page for Columbus City Farmers Market.
Farmers Market of Hope
When: 5 to 8 p.m. Friday; every Friday in July; then Aug. 5 and Sept. 2.
Where: Hope Town Square.
Attractions: Several produce vendors, live music and cruise-in.