Lexington Farmer’s Market moves indoors

Local farmer’s market continues weekly operations through winter months


A local vendor writes down an order for a customer at the Lexington Farmer’s Market — now located indoors for the winter.

Although Lexington hasn’t seen much snow, with cold temperatures and gusty winds, winter is definitely in full swing. But that hasn’t stopped the Lexington Farmer’s Market from staying open this year, which braced itself for the cold by moving indoors for the first time ever.

In the past, the market ran only from the third Wednesday in April until Thanksgiving but this year, it reopened on January 7th in an indoor location at 18 East Nelson Street.

But not every vendor from the warmer months is able to participate – certain vegetables and fruits and even eggs and meat, are more difficult to grow during the colder months.

The limited number of vendors can be discouraging. Fran Elrod, a faculty member in the Shepherd Department, said she visited the indoor market for the first time last week, only to buy Mary’s Cookies.

“Things grow slower in the winter so some people could only commit to every other week,” Mitch Wapner, current manager of the Farmer’s Market, said. “There are fewer booths by a lot but that also means there is less overlap in what they are selling.”

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Wapner said he is also concerned that the students and the community aren’t aware that the indoor market is up and running. Wapner said he has put up signs and posted in Campus Notices but he thinks the best way news spreads in Lexington is simply through word of mouth.

“Some people in town still don’t know that this is happening but through word of mouth we are seeing an increase in customers,” he said. “A slow trickle is better than nothing.”

Despite Wapner’s attempt to advertise to students via Campus Notices, very few students know that the market has moved indoors. In fact, many students don’t know that the outdoor market exists either.

“You get one block off campus and it feels like a world away,” Wapner said.

But some W&L students have visited the outdoor market. Sarah Schaffer ’16 said she has gone with classes. Abigail Sterns ’17 said she went during the summer while she was living in town.

But neither knew about the indoor market and now that they do, they still do not anticipate going often.

“Living off campus forces you to explore Lexington a little more,” Sterns said. “I haven’t been since then though.”

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Schaffer said she finds it hard to visit the market because it’s held only once a week and finds that some of the items are more expensive than shopping at the local grocery stores.

“It’s twenty times easier to go to Walmart or Kroger,” she said. “Plus I don’t have the money to spend on a $10 loaf of bread.”

Although the student body shares many of the same sentiments and concerns that Sterns and Schaffer expressed, Wapner said there are plenty of positives when it comes to shopping at a farmer’s market over Walmart.

“You know the source and how it was grown, produce is fresher and you are supporting your local economy and community.”