A trip to the local farmers' market is a quintessential aspect of my hometown on Saturday mornings. I wanted to recreate the simplicity of browsing the produce stalls and people watching, coffee in hand, in my college town. A visit to the Bloomington Community Farmers' Market was the perfect way to spend a late summer day and connect with the local community.

All Things Farmers' Market

I walked 2.5 miles from my house to the Bloomington Community Farmers' Market located at 401 N. Morton St. downtown Bloomington. The stalls are under a cover and are occupied by various local vendors. Immediately, a stall advertising DIY bouquets caught my attention, the vibrant flowers standing out on an overcast morning. Near the flowers were numerous produce stands specializing in apples, onions, peppers, pumpkins, microgreens, squash and mushrooms among other fruits and vegetables. Additional merchants were selling maple syrup, honey, goat’s milk soap, tacos, and various types of meat. The majority of the goods were local to the Bloomington area and were sold by friendly individuals eager to strike up conversation. Staples of southeast Indiana, including Scholar’s Inn Bakehouse and Brown County Coffee, were crowded as market goers loaded up on baked goods for the weekend and purchased a morning caffeine fix. Although dogs are prohibited from the market, multiple canine bakeries offered owners the opportunity to bring their pets home a special souvenir.

Why You Should Consider Making a Trip

Among the variety of products available and the live music at the Bloomington Community Farmers' Market, one observation left me surprised. Despite the large student population at Indiana University, only a handful of market attendees were college-aged. I was taken aback by this not only because shopping at farmers markets is an enjoyable experience that gives access to delicious ingredients, but also because of the sense of social responsibility common among IU students. Purchasing products at farmers markets rather than large food retailers results in strengthening the local economy, according to UNL Food, and reducing and minimizing environmental pollution and waste, per the Farmers Market Coalition. It is important for college students to consider supporting local farmers markets to positively impact their college community. Farmers markets exclude the retail grocer middleman, allowing purchasers to get fresh and delicious products while engaging in sustainable practices.

Other Local Establishments

The fun doesn't stop after exploring the market. Shopping opportunities located adjacent to the Bloomington Community Farmers' Market serve as further chances to give back to local vendors and engage in sustainable practices. Bloomington's A Fair of the Arts is a bimonthly art show that features a variety of vendors selling metalworks, jewelry, and paintings. The new Ragstock Bloomington is a nearby boutique that features vintage and recycled clothing. 

If you’re looking for a wholesome way to spend your next Saturday morning in Bloomington or want to avoid the chaos of doing your weekly shopping at a retail grocer, check out the Bloomington Community Farmers' Market. Not only will you be able to purchase fresh produce and baked goods, but you’ll be giving back to small businesses and reducing environmental harm along the way.