BY AUBREY DUNNUCK
On December 5, the Bloomington Winter Farmers’ Market picked up right where the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market left off, making locally grown products available year-round. And there’s far more than fresh produce at the market. Every Saturday morning until March 26, there’s also a concert, a café, and a gathering place, all in the Harmony School gymnasium.
Now entering its 12th season, the winter market was founded by Linda Chapman of Harvest Moon Flower Farm with support from Slow Food Bloomington and the Local Growers’ Guild. Today, the farmer-run market is a project of the Center for Sustainable Living, with more than 40 farmers and vendors participating.
Katie Zukof, co-owner of Muddy Fork Farm & Bakery, has been a member of the market’s advisory council since 2010 and has helped it expand to offer gapless farmers’ market coverage to Bloomington. Zukof says vendors are “becoming increasingly creative with what they can grow and produce during the winter, leading to more diverse products.”
This year, new additions include hickory syrup and granola from Steve’s Hickory Syrup, grain-free desserts from Primally Inspired, and cheese from Risin’ Creek Creamery and Tulip Tree Creamery. Zukof says she is looking forward to the winter bounty of fresh greens and vegetables, especially carrots, which become extra sweet after they’re exposed to a frost.
From singer-songwriters and jazz performers to Celtic and Middle-Eastern music, local musicians provide a live soundtrack to the market. This year the market calendar spans several holidays, including Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter. Vendors will have gift items throughout the season, including a special holiday market on December 19. Muddy Fork will bake special sweet breads, and other vendors will produce wreaths, ornaments, gourmet chocolates, unique tea blends, and beauty products made from local herbs and goat milk.
The Winter Farmers’ Market is open each Saturday, December 5 through March 26 (except for December 26), 9 a.m.–12:30 p.m. at Harmony School, 909 E. 2nd St. Free parking is available in the Harmony School parking lot, on surrounding streets, and at Indiana University’s Atwater Garage, just two blocks away.