Fort Wayne's Farmers Market creator Leigh Rowan slept well Saturday night. That's because the new, monthly indoor market drew mostly nonstop traffic at its Saturday morning opening at Parkview Field.
With just six weeks between the first inkling and the inaugural sale, Rowan pulled off an amazing feat – one that saw two or three vendors sell out of their products during the three-hour event, a couple who were on the fence sign on for a full season, and others introduce their products in Fort Wayne.
“I looked at Indianapolis' and Muncie's markets,” said Rowan, who sells her baked goods as Big Brick House Bakery. “They have education programs. I wanted to bring that flavor and genre to Fort Wayne.”
Rowan got things rolling, despite being new to Fort Wayne. She closed her retail location in Wabash because of the hard economic times, came to Fort Wayne six months ago and has been selling her breads and other goods from her red truck at local farmers markets.
Fried pies, pumpkins, rings and bracelets, caramel apples, and more lured shoppers to vendors' tables Saturday.
Shoppers browsed through selections from Young's Greenhouse and Flower Shop, Goddess Granola, Keepsake Threads, Old Fort Soap Co. and others at the indoor market.
About 100 people were counted at the market every half-hour, with tweets about it reaching about 14,000 people, she said.
The market will be open 9 a.m.-noon the first Saturday of each month through May in Parkview Field's Lincoln Financial Event Center on the east side of the field. Free visitor parking is available in the field's lot at Webster and Douglas streets and at parking meters.
Each market day will include a special event. The next Fort Wayne's Farmers Market, planned for Nov. 3, will feature a Purdue Extension food preservation and cooking demonstration with fall vegetable recipes. Mayor Tom Henry and a Fort Wayne Fire Department crew will be on hand.
On Saturday and since, Rowan said she has received a lot of positive feedback. About a dozen other vendors have shown interest, though not all can participate because it's a producer-only market, she said.
To people wishing it were a weekly market, Rowan says, not so fast. Farmers might not be able to bring produce in weekly during the winter. However, she has plenty of ideas about how to expand it with a Wednesday night market and creating an international flavor with Burmese and German-style foods. But she needs to get through this season of the market to see how things go.