At the market: Hoeltke’s grows its produce from the old-fashioned ‘honor system’ to today

Editor’s note: At the Market is a weekly feature highlighting a different vendor and their specialties at the Columbus Farmers Market.

Twenty years ago Larry and Mary Jane Hoeltke made their produce available at the end of their lane, where customers were put on the “honor system” to purchase what they took.

While much has changed since then, the Hoeltke family hasn’t stopped sharing its produce with the community.

For the past 16 years, Hoeltke’s Farm Market has held a spot at the Columbus Farmers Market. It is one of the market’s most recognizable vendors, as it is also one of its original members.

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Business: Hoeltke’s Farm Market. Run by Jeff and Kim Hoeltke, with Larry, Mary Jane, Landen, and other family members providing assistance.

Specialty: Their homegrown produce brings regulars every week to the market. As they have gotten to know their customers better, not only have they been able to supply their sought-after sweet corn, green beans, and tomatoes, but have offered other items of interest such as okra, eggplant, and peas. Their 25-acre Bartholomew County farm includes a greenhouse, allowing them to plant early every spring. A new addition to their selection will be pumpkins later this year.

What they like best: At the market, the Hoeltkes say they appreciate the opportunity to connect with their customers. There are regulars who have particular items they are looking for such as string beans. Relationships built with their customers have proven beneficial to both sides. The Hoeltkes know what is desired, and customers know where their food comes from.

Vendor contact information: Hoeltke’s Farm Market, 812-371-5549: [email protected]

Produce to look for this week: Green beans

Recipe from FoodLink: Snap Bean and Tuna Salad (8 servings)

14-ounce package elbow macaroni

15 ounces trimmed snap beans (cut in 1-inch pieces)

1/2 can tuna packed in water (drained and flaked with a fork, about 6 ounces)

1/2 cup sweet pickles (diced, if you like)

1/2 cup onions (diced)

1 cup plain lowfat yogurt

1/2 cup light mayonnaise

1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon pepper


  1. Prepare elbow macaroni according to package directions and drain. If using fresh snap beans, trim and cook until tender.
  2. In a large bowl, mix yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, and pepper.
  3. Add green beans, onions, and tuna. If using sweet pickles, add those too. Toss dressing and macaroni mixture until all ingredients are well-coated.
  4. Chill before serving.

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When: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays rain or shine.

Where: In the city overflow parking lot behind City Hall on First Street.

Vendors: About 25.