John Grinvalds Editor of the Daily Sun
Dozens of residents moved from one colorful awning to another, dodging the Thursday afternoon sun in the damp shade.
The sound of a banjo, strummed by a salesman, served as the background to pockets of conversation – small talk about the weather, negotiated prices, reunions of old friends. Customers visiting the 14 vendors at Beatrice’s Thursday Farmer’s Market peeked at tables and shelves full of garden vegetables, jams and artisan items.
Run by Main Street Beatrice, the Farmers Market runs from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. every Thursday. It starts in May and will end on October 13.
Main Street Beatrice executive director Michael Sothan said the organization has been providing the farmers’ market as a service to the community since 1997.
“It’s a place of community,” Sothan said. “It is the locals who buy from the locals. It’s high quality. There’s just something to feel good about. You know it’s gonna be good. You can explore new things, and yet you also have an impact on small local vendors, businesses and producers right here. »
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Sothan said last year the market averaged about 14 to 16 vendors per Thursday, with a total of 30 different vendors visiting the market during the season.
“We see a lot of variety in what our vendors bring in,” he said. “It’s across the spectrum… You can get produce, coffee, cookies, cupcakes… honey, candles, fresh cut flowers, CBD products, small crafts. And a lot of sellers have unique products that people might not be used to… There are things that might not be at the top of the list. So it’s fun to see variety.
Sothan said there is also diversity when it comes to the age and experience of salespeople.
“We have salespeople in their twenties and teens,” he said. “And then we have others who are a bit older and at retirement age. So you see a real variety. To be in rural Nebraska, having half of our salespeople under the age of 40 years is awesome.
Fred and Lauri Baumann have had a stand at the Beatrice Farmers Market for 15 years.
Lauri said she decided to jam after being fired. Over time, Baumann Gardens grew and they shared more and more of their produce, from their face-sized onions to bell peppers and garlic.
“It keeps us healthy and in the community,” Lauri said. “We started meeting a lot of people here. We made friends. And so we kept coming back.
The Baumanns also bring their products to Wymore and Fairbury.
“It’s so nice to see what everyone brings to the table,” Fred said. “Everyone has their niche. And it’s great to meet people.
Sothan said Main Street is always looking for new vendors to sell local or handmade items. The fee, which Sothan says is for advertising the event, is $14 per market or $150 for the season.
Sothan said the Farmers’ Market has become a community staple, with more than 300 visitors each Thursday.
“Everyone is welcome,” he said. “There are so many good things to try here.”