Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Make Most of Market ; Four Farmers Markets to Be Open by Mid-May in Topeka

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Make Most of Market ; Four Farmers Markets to Be Open by Mid-May in Topeka

Article excerpt

One of my life's greatest joys is shopping at the Downtown Topeka Farmers Market on Saturday mornings. Considering I am not a morning person, it is a minor miracle I can get myself out of bed that early on the weekend, but the allure of fresh vegetables, fruits, baked goods, meats and dairy products is too much to ignore.

Topeka is farmers market heaven. The huge downtown market, at S.W. 12th and Harrison, opened Saturday morning and will continue each week from 7:30 a.m. to noon until November. Market manager Betty Lane said more than 100 vendors from previous years have returned to the market, along with a few new ones.

"It is a wonderful place to find unusual items, from something you can eat to a gift for that special person," she said. "There are a variety of items that are handmade, and the top-notch, freshest produce in town."

The city also has two additional weekly markets that open in mid- May: 8 to 11:30 a.m. Mondays at the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library and 7:30 a.m. to noon Wednesdays outside of the Capitol. Plus, a new market is scheduled to open April 23 at the Avondale East NET Center, 455 S.E. Golf Park. Its hours will be from 4 to 6 p.m.

Here are a few tips to make a visit to the farmers market more enjoyable:

- Arrive as early as possible for the best selection. However, latecomers may get deals on produce the farmer doesn't want to pack up and take home, but the selection will be limited.

- Bring your own tote bag. Most vendors have plastic bags for your use, but it is much easier to have one large canvas bag to hold purchases, especially if it can go over the shoulder. Many people bring compact personal grocery carts that fold up nicely in the car, while others bring mini coolers on wheels.

- Put an insulated bag in your tote or have a cooler ready in the car to hold perishable purchases.

- Walk around the whole market first before making a purchase. That way you can see what is available and compare prices. There is nothing worse than buying tomatoes and then finding ones that look better and are cheaper at another stand. After a couple of visits, you will pick your favorite stands to visit each week. …

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