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Market makes best of soggy spring

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PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY MIAMI COUNTY FARMERS’ MARKETMARKET: Vendors and vistors mingle outside the Miami County Museum at the first farmers’ market of the year on June 1, 2019.
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PHOTOS CONTRIBUTED BY MIAMI COUNTY FARMERS’ MARKET MARKET: Vendors and vistors mingle outside the Miami County Museum at the first farmers’ market of the year on June 1, 2019.

BY JARED KEEVER - jkeever@perutribune.com

Local growers and producers aren’t letting a rainy spring dampen their spirits as they settle into their weekly summer routine of setting up booths on a downtown corner for the Miami County Farmers’ Market.

“This would be my third season,” Catey Heritage Farm owner, Lauren Catey, told the Tribune on Thursday.

Catey and her fiance, Jem Dillon, will be set up outside the Miami County Museum at the corner of Fifth Street and Broadway with other vendors on Saturday morning for the second week of the summertime market.

And that’s where most of them will be found every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. until the end of September, said president of the Miami County Chamber of Commerce, Sandy Chittum (they take a week off in July for circus festivities).

“It’s a great group of vendors,” Chittum said, listing off the flowers, herbs, vegetables, honey and even pork rinds that are produced locally and sold at the market.

And that’s really the only requirement, she said – that the products are homegrown or homemade.

Of course, that homegrown part has been a bit difficult lately as farmers have struggled with the rainy weather to get crops planted.

It is a situation that Catey, who grows organic flowers, vegetables and eggs and whose father is an area farmer, acknowledged. Luckily, she said, she recently put up a 100-foot “hoop house” that’s allowed her to get a jump on things.

“So that’s been a big help with all the rain,” she said.

And just as rain won’t completely stop the vendors from getting started, it can’t really even stop the market.

Chittum said that, these days, the market benefits from its location outside of the Miami County Museum, which opens its doors to the vendors if the weather is rainy, or even too hot – something that can be a problem for, say, a chocolate producer.

This is the second year for the new location, according to Chittum, who said that in previous years the market had been held outside of town and sometimes on weekdays.

She said a growing chorus of requests to move it to a weekend morning, and thoughts of days long past when there was a market on the courthouse square, prompted the change.

“And we thought, let’s take it back downtown,” she said.

Because of the struggles with the early season, Chittum said that things may not really pick up until July, but there will still be plenty for people to look over in the early weeks.

“We have fun and we are always open to new vendors,” she said.

For more information visit www.facebook.com/MarketMaster1 or call the Miami County Chamber of Commerce at 472-1923.