Monthly Vendorfest launches: “We need not worry, if we know our stuff is going to People’s Market!”

On Saturday, People’s Market launched its summer Vendorfest series in the southwest parking lot of Rev. Ernest D. Butler Park.

About an hour after Saturday’s 10 a.m. opening, the overcast skies were spitting rain. But the first edition of the third-Saturday-of-the-month event was spared a drenching downpour until just after 2 p.m. when the heavens opened.

For the next three months, People’s Market will be hosting Vendorfest events at Rev. Butler Park—to complement online ordering, which is now available 24/7.

The choice of the third-Saturday pattern was not random. Market organizer Lauren McCalister told The B Square it was chosen because Juneteenth (June 19 every year) falls on the weekend of the third Saturday of June. So the rest of the Saturdays follow the same pattern.

Juneteenth commemorates the arrival of Union Army general Gordon Granger in Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865, to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation, which came two and half years earlier on Jan. 1, 1863.

About 10 booths were set up on Saturday.

One market patron, who was browsing the wares at Jada Bee’s Black Witchery’s booth, said she thought there would be more vendors. Jada Bee offered as an explanation: People’s Market vendors have to be committed to the goals of transformative anti-racism and supporting Black and Brown farmers—and not every potential vendor is willing to do that.

Through its online ordering system People’s Market allows customers to donate “sponsored boxes” of produce, bread or meat, which the market then passes along to those in need.

It’s an approach that appeals to vendors like Nic Garza and Marie O’Neill who own Outlier Farmstead. Garza told The B Square, “We love that all of our food can just come to People’s Market and they distribute it so mindfully and consciously throughout town.”

Garza added,  “We need not worry if we know our stuff is going to People’s Market!” On Saturday they had a mix of vegetables on display—carrots, lettuce, and radishes.

Saturday’s mix of vendors featured some regulars. Anna and Emily were serving up Bivi’s Tamales.  Selling donuts was Adelaide with Frostfall Baked Goods.

Another familiar face was Susan Wesland, aka The Chile Woman. She told The B Square it’s her busiest time of year, because it’s “plant shipping season.” That means she’s boxing up and sending her chile plants to most every state in the country. She uses custom-designed boxes and inserts from Columbus Container to keep the plants safe during their journey. (That’s the Columbus located about 35 miles east of Bloomington, not the one in Ohio.)

A one-off highlight for People’s Market on Saturday was a tree give-away from state senator Shelli Yoder. She was supported by her husband Josh Perry, who was wearing a T-shirt with a quote from the senator: “If you care about people, you care about politics.”

Yoder had 25 each of four species of tree to give away: American plum, Norway spruce, river birch, and sycamore.

On Saturday, People’s Market also featured some newer faces, including Rose Harding and Erik Anderson’s Good Dog Farm. The business takes its name from Boomer, a border-collie, which attended Saturday’s market and made a solid case that she is, in fact, a good dog.

Shanna Poveda’s Wild Mint Apothecary  was set up with her handmade salves, tinctures and bath bombs. She sources the natural ingredients through a combination of growing them, foraging for them, or sourcing them ethically, Poveda told The B Square. She can’t grow or forage for the cacao she needs to make her cacao adaptogen powder.

Hours for the People’s Market Vendorfest on the third Saturday of the summer months are from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Photos: People’s Market at Rev. Butler Park (May 21, 2022)

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