SIDNEY — One of the most welcome and anticipated events in Sidney this time of year is the opening of The Great Sidney Farmers’ Market. Saturday morning, May 25, is the official kick-off of the market season that runs through Oct. 12.
Every Saturday morning the court-square will be buzzing with activity from 8 a.m. until noon and this year promises to be better than ever. The farmers market is not only a great place to shop but also offers visitors a chance to enjoy what is arguably the prettiest time of the day strolling around the court square; it’s easy to get to, there is ample parking close-by, and many come just to enjoy the festive atmosphere while picking up a few of their favorite treats.
The present farmers market was organized in the mid 1980’s and as grown to its present number approximately 60 vendors offering a variety of fruits and vegetables, baked goods, hand-made arts and crafts, jam, jellies, local honey, and plants and flowers just to name a few. Most of the vendors are local; however, some come from as far away as Pleasant Hill and southern Miami County. This year offers something new as there will be vendors selling artwork with some specializing brief on-the-spot art lessons. Another new offering will be home-made gliders, swings and lawn furniture made by a local builder. Shoppers are encouraged to come early to insure having a good selection to choose from.
Amy Breinich, executive director of Sidney Alive, is excited about another upcoming season.
“The farmers market has been a part of the local community since June 1892 when local residents sold their produce on the court square. The market is a win-win situation for all involved and a great asset to Sidney and Shelby County,” Breinich said, “It brings people together, offers a variety of fresh foods, crafts and entertainment and contributes a lot to our local economy. “ Breinich observed there is a great feeling of community closeness involved, “Our goal is create a sense of togetherness, a place to socialize and get to know your neighbors, see old friends and make new ones.“
The popularity of a local farmers market points out a trend of shoppers moving away from the shopping mall mentality and gravitating toward a more personal way of shopping. One of the biggest advantages for those who choose to visit the farmers market is they actually get to meet the person who grew the produce, prepared the food, or created the craft or art by hand. Shoppers have the advantage of determining where the produce came from, who grew it, and how it was grown and prepared before being brought to market. Over time vendors get to know their customers and vice-versa resulting in a level of trust not realized where there is no personal interaction.
Another big advantage of shopping at a farmers market lies in how products are prepared and sold compared to the methods used by commercial groceries. Commercial markets use a variety of methods to keep produce looking fresh from treating produce with chemicals to high-tech refrigeration and water mist applicators that result in store bought good being on the shelves for up to 10 days before being purchased while produce from the farmers market is typically a day old or less. Overhead is another consideration as it represents the lion’s share of the cost linked to store-bought goods. At the farmers market you are paying for food; not shipping, handling, processing and packaging, and the endless list of other overhead costs associated with operating a retail store all of which adds significant cost to the bottom line.
Another positive effect of the farmers market is the economic impact is has on the local community. Breinich said there is a trickle-down effect that contributes to the local economy in a number of ways.
“Some statistics indicate that only a 5 perercent increase in eating local foods can add millions of dollars to a given region; farmers markets like the one in Sidney contribute to this kind of data and have a very positive impact on the local community,” Breinich said.
This year there will be a variety of special events held in conjunction with the farmers market including the Great Downtown BBQfest coming in June; this and other activities planned offer a variety of fun-filled opportunities for everyone and the public is encouraged to attend.
Those wishing to find out more about The Great Sidney Farmers Market or learning about other activities planned for the upcoming season of events listed for downtown Sidney may visit
For any other questions contact Amy Breinich, executive director, or Kristen Arnett, administrative assistant, at Sidney Alive, 937-658-6945 or email them at: https://sidneyalive.wordpress.com/contact
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.