SIDNEY — Spring is here and with it comes a multitude of pastimes to enjoy. One of the most anticipated activities in Sidney is the Great Sidney Farmers Market held on the downtown courtsquare on Saturdays from 8 a.m. until noon. This year the market runs from May 27 until October 14th and promises to better than ever.
The present farmers market was organized in the mid 1980’s and as grown to its present number of 50 to 60 participants selling everything from homemade baked goods to watermelons. Many of the vendors are local; however, some come from as far away as Pleasant Hill and southern Miami County.
Amy Breinich, executive director of Sidney Alive, oversees the farmers market and is excited about the upcoming season.
“The farmers market as been a part of the local community since June of 1892 as noted in an ‘Out of the Past’ feature in the Sidney Daily News when the DeVelvis family from sold produce on the courtsquare. The market is a win-win situation for all involved and a great asset to Sidney and Shelby County, “ Breinich. “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,” she said.
Breinich pointed out there is 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 made the craft by hand,” she said. “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.”
Breinich also noted the vast contrast in how products at the farmers market are prepared compared to the methods used by commercial groceries.
“What you have is a fresh -vs- not fresh situation, commercial settings use a variety of methods to keep produce looking fresh from 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,”” she said.
“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 costs associated with operating a retail store all of which adds significant cost to the bottom line.” Breinich said.
Another positive effect of the farmers market is the economical 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 percent increase in eating local foods can add millions of dollars to a given region, farmer’s markets like the one in Sidney contributes to this kind of data and has a very positive impact on the local community,” she said.
With the opening day of the Farmers market coming soon, vendors are urged to get a spot while they last. There are 87 parking spaces and about 20 feet of space per lot. Spaces can be purchased by the day at $10 each or season passes are available for $165. Breinich noted there is an early-bird special for those who plan to purchase a season pass for next year but that payments must be mailed or turned in by Jan. 1, 2018.
“Everything starts locally and we are thankful for all those who have contributed to our success year after year especially the folks from Sidney and Shelby County; and we are always willing to work with potential vendors regardless of where they are from and accommodate their needs or any special circumstances that may arise.”
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 www.sidneyalive.org or contact Breinich at 937-658-6945 or email her at email@example.com.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.