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Beatrice Farmers’ Market wraps up for the season

October 12, 2018

The Beatrice Farmers’ Market is closing up shop for the season, with Thursday being the market’s last day.

Since late May, vendors have gathered at the Country Cookin’ Café parking lot at Eighth and Court streets every Thursday to sell fresh produce, baked goods, crafts and other items.

Michael Sothan, the director of Main Street Beatrice, which organizes the market, said it continued to grow in 2018.

Four years ago, for example, the market had 20 total vendors with an average of eight a week. This year, the market had 36 vendors, averaging 15 a week.

“We really had a pretty good year overall,” Sothan said. “The weather has been a bit different this year. Customer numbers have been strong, vendor numbers have been good.”

Sothan said the market is also seeing a trend toward younger vendors and customers.

Gauging just how many customers showed up each week is harder to pin down, Sothan said, but he estimates numbers are comparable to past years - around 200-300 customers a week.

“It’s a mixture of all ages, from young families to folks that are seniors,” he said.

The Beatrice Farmers’ Market, which moved to its current location in 2013, is one of the biggest in the region outside Lincoln, Sothan said.

That means it attracts vendors and customers from far and wide - from northern Kansas to surrounding counties and communities around Beatrice.

Jean Holmes Harwood of Crete is in her first year at the farmers’ market and sells tie-dyed T-shirts.

She’s been coming since June and said business has been “really good.”

“You can occasionally have slow weeks, but that’s typical for a farmers’ market,” Holmes Harwood said on Thursday.

Her wares highlight the diversity of Beatrice’s market, where customers can not only buy typical products like baked good and produce but also crafts and clothing.

“I think it’s kind of fun,” Holmes Harwood said. “A lot of markets have only produce; it’s not as near as much fun. When I go to a market, I want to look at different parts.”

Looking ahead, Sothan said Main Street is always looking for suggestions on hours, location and creative ways to get the word out.

“We are going to try and find ways to reach a broader customer base,” he said. “We still have people who didn’t even know you have a farmers’ market.”

On Thursday, The market convened for its last day of the season, but Sothan said that doesn’t mean the business stops.

Vendors still have products to sell, Sothan said, like honey and farm-fresh eggs. Those interested can contact Main Street Beatrice to connect with a vendor.

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