During a typical farmers market season, all types of Lincoln residents and businesses come together.
Bands trill their tunes, artists display their designs, and children get sticky fingers from sweet treats. And that’s not to mention all of the fresh produce changing hands.
For the past two years, however, the spaces that typically occupy the community markets have been comparatively quiet. Some weren’t active at all.
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But those toned-down market seasons have sparked excitement in vendors and residents for this year, said Jeff Cunningham, executive director of the Haymarket Farmers Market.
“I think this is going to be the most normal season we’ve had since 2019,” Cunningham said. “I’m excited to have everybody back and enjoying themselves.”
Cunningham said the market lost several vendors during the pandemic, but many are returning this season and customers will be able to enjoy a larger roster of growers and businesses.
The Haymarket Farmers Market — Lincoln’s oldest and largest market — is held every Saturday from 8 am to noon starting May 7 and wrapping up Oct. 15.
The Sunday Farmers Market at College View opens this weekend. It runs from 10 am to 2 pm every Sunday through Oct. 30. Organizers are anticipating a successful season, with special activities planned for opening day.
Local radio station KZUM will host live music and Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster will make an appearance to hand out Open Harvest Bakery treats.
Opening day feels like a joyful return for Margaret Dentlinger, vice president of the market’s board of directors.
She said this year’s market will run at full capacity, and she’s looking forward to the vibe that a lively market brings.
“We have lots of interaction with the community to help entertain the patrons and keep them at the market a little longer,” Dentlinger said.
One of College View’s vendors, Lainey Johnson of Bright Hope Family Farm, is hoping to catch the community spirit again this year. One of her favorite aspects of market season is getting to interact with customers.
“It’s always great to be able to talk with your customer at the farmers market, because you don’t get that shopping in a lot of other places,” Johnson said.
Johnson said she’s also looking forward to showing her expanded business, which offers more flowers and bouquets.
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The Thursday Farmers Market in Fallbrook still has more than a month before its season begins, with opening day set for June 9 and markets continuing each week from 4 pm to 7 pm through Oct. 6.
Director Kelsie Jensen said the Fallbrook market is looking forward to putting on all the events it wasn’t able to schedule the last two years.
“It’s our first year back in action,” Jensen said. “We have a lot of new vendors, and it’s awesome to see people get involved.”
Just outside the city, residents of Denton can grab some fresh produce and share in the fun of a market this season.
The Denton Farmers Market, organized by Denton General Store owner Tina Jones, will host more than 20 vendors.
Jones said after sitting in on village board meetings, she began to hear a common theme among locals in the town southwest of Lincoln.
“It just became a community push to get something going,” Jones said.
So Jones partnered with Anchor Meadow Farm to create Denton’s own market, which will kick off May 11 from 4 pm to 7 pm and run every Wednesday through Aug. 31.
All of the market directors said they share an appreciation for the community aspect a farmers market can bring.
Dentlinger can’t wait to be back in the middle of crowds on producing runs and listening to local bands.
“I do miss that community spirit that we have,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to that.”
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