Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
FAIRFIELD — The Fairfield Farmers Market is experimenting with a new way of attracting attention to the Wednesday afternoon market.
The market is moving from Howard Park to Central Park on Wednesdays. The Saturday morning market will remain at Howard Park.
Wednesday was the first time the vendors set up shop on the east side of Central Park instead of their usual location three blocks north. The vendors were all supportive of the move to the new location, which they said will eventually lead to more customers at the market from its increased visibility due to its proximity to the main thoroughfare, Burlington Avenue.
“More people can see us now,” said Cindy Scearcy, a vendor selling concrete plant holders.
“We’ve had good traffic,” said Aleta Mottet, who was there selling succulents and other plants.
“I think it was a good idea to move here,” said Sarah Morgan, an asparagus vendor.
Morgan said her family has had an asparagus patch for 15 years and was a routine vendor at the market until last year when they took a year off from the market because of the pandemic.
Mark Sedlacek runs Bobcat Valley Produce in Keosauqua, and is a familiar face to market-goers. He comes to just about every market on Wednesdays and Saturdays. He said Wednesday’s market didn’t seem quite as busy as normal, but he thinks that will change as more people realize the Wednesday market has moved to the square.
Sedlacek said he and the other vendors were lucky in that they didn’t have to miss any of the outdoor markets last year, so they weren’t hit as hard by the pandemic as vendors in big cities where the farmers markets were canceled.
Barb Sieren of Back to the Basics Farm said she worried there might not be enough shade at Central Park, though she changed her mind once she set up her booth. She said the Wednesday market normally has a line of people waiting to purchase goods right when it starts at 3 p.m., which wasn’t the case Wednesday, though she attributed that to the fact it’s still early in the growing season. As more produce becomes available, she expects the attendance at the market to improve.
Deanna Julsen, the new market master of the Fairfield Farmers Market, said she just learned that the state is not imposing any restrictions on entertainment at the markets.
“I’m getting calls from people who want to do entertainment here,” she said.
Julsen said the farmers market is looking for ways to be more connected to events in town. For instance, she said the Saturday market at Howard Park will be the starting hub for a few bike rides the Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce has planned this year. Furthermore, Fairfield Youth Services Librarian Alecs Mickunas announced he will start doing children’s story time during the Wednesday market in Central Park, from 3:30-4 p.m.
The farmers market meets from 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays in Central Park, and from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays in Howard Park now through the end of October, when the market moves indoors.
Those who wish to learn more about the farmers market can email email@example.com.