Minnetrista's Farmers Market provides not only a living for small businesses, but a sense of community as well

The Minnetrista farmers market is only open to consumers for three hours, but to the vendors, more goes into it to get to those three hours of selling. 

Jenni Effinger, the Minnetrista farmers market manager, works to ensure the local product is put on display. 

“My personal goal is just to support local businesses,” Effinger said. “I believe strongly that if we keep money local, it helps the entire community thrive. We've added artisans to the market, we have local farmers, we have caterers, and we have food businesses and all kinds of food trucks. Last year the farmers market had over 70 businesses participate in one way or another.”

One of those local products is Grand Grilling; it was started 20 years ago by Susan Orebaugh and her husband. Grand Grilling has been selling at Minnetrista ever since. 

Grand Grilling sells pork, whether that be pork chops, smoked pork chops, bacon, pork burgers or more. They also grill for customers at the market. 

Since her husband’s passing, Orebaugh has now been the sole owner for four years. She said she is not working full-time, more like 24/7, on call all of the time. 

“When my employees go home they're done for the day, but I still have paperwork to do, and I have phone calls to return,” Orebaugh said. “People call at different hours of the day and call you in the morning, during the day, sometimes I'll get calls at 6, 7, or 8 p.m. They call with questions or to ask if I have availability on my calendar for catering. So it's more than just what an employee does”

Along with the farmers market, Orebaugh also has a catering component of Grand Grilling. She said she caters to a lot of businesses, different clubs that have monthly or weekly meetings, and even small factories. 

Effinger said a lot of vendors are dependent upon their sales at the farmer’s market for their income.

“This is their job, especially the farmers, this is their full-time job,” Effinger said. “They are planting, they are starting seeds and they are harvesting year-round. It is a big part of their family's income but also it's just a big part of the community. We have a lot of agriculture in Indiana and, unfortunately, some of it doesn't stay local, but our farmers are.”

Dale Scheidler, from Scheidler Farm to Table, has been coming to Minnetrisa to sell his products for around 23 years. 

“I just raise fruits, vegetables and honey,” Scheidler said. “I only sell it at the three local farmers markets in Delaware County.”

Along with the Minnetrista farmers market, Delaware County holds the Albany farmers market and the Yorktown farmers marketplace. 

“My produce is all locally grown,” Scheidler said. “I don't buy and resell from other places. What I sell is locally produced, it's fresh and it's got good quality.”

Newcomers and returning farmers market buyers can expect a new change to this year’s market at Minnetrista.

“This year we've added artisans,” Effinger said. “What I keep saying is that we have a farmers market with a sprinkle of artists and vendors included as well. We thought it was important, being a museum, to feature some of the local artisans at the market, but we want to make sure that the focus is still on local farm food. So that's pretty much what you can expect. We also have the orchard shop open during those hours. So if there's anything else that you need outside of what we have at the farmers market, you can probably find a little taste of it there.”

As far as things people can experience, both Effinger and the vendors said there are a variety of things to do. When it comes to things to buy, products vary from stained glass to food products, fresh produce, balloon art for kids, coffee and more. 

“It's a gathering place,” Orebaugh said. “It’s very, very true on Saturday mornings because people come to see friends and people that they haven't seen in a long time. They come to see [the] new vendors we have as well. So I'm not sure how to describe it, but there's just a lot going on. It's a very enjoyable thing to do.”

The next farmers market is scheduled for Apr. 15 from 9 a.m. to Noon inside Minnetrista. The outdoor markets will begin May 6 at the same time every week. 

Contact Elijah Poe with comments at elijah.poe@bsu.edu or on Twitter @ElijahPoe4.

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