Westfield Farmers Market Moves to Grand Junction Plaza
Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing
The Westfield Farmers Market originated in 2009 as a Friday night market held in the parking lot at First Merchants Bank. After several years it outgrew the space, so it was moved downtown briefly before it became a Saturday morning market. When the decision was made to build Grand Junction Plaza, one of the reasons for building a gorgeous, six-acre park in the center of Westfield was to eventually hold the farmers market there. Finally, after almost 10 years of planning, the market is making its debut in Grand Junction Plaza. The market’s proximity to trails, downtown and Park Street make it a great location.
“Last week we got an extra 100 people who didn’t know the market was going on but meandered over to check it out,” says Steve Latour, chief executive officer of the Westfield Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Westfield Association.
In 2010 the Downtown Westfield Association became responsible for the farmers market. When they took it over, they conducted a survey and found that many neighboring towns held farmers markets on Saturdays. Couple that with the fact that Grand Park is always busy on Saturdays, and the decision was made to change the market to Thursday evenings.
“On Saturdays you get all of the out-of-town guests, and while that can be great, the mayor and staff wanted something the residents could feel like was theirs,” Latour says. “Plus, Thursday is a wonderful way to kick off the weekend.”
All of the vendors who participated in the market last year say their sales were double what they made on Saturdays, and it seems as if the switch was a good call. Another bonus for a Thursday event is the ability of the entire family to participate, given that weekends are notoriously jam-packed with kids sporting events, weddings, graduation parties and other activities. Often families will walk to the market and then have dinner on Park Street.
The Westfield Farmers Market, which has roughly two dozen vendors, is focused on food and beverages. For instance, they’ve got a frozen meat company that sells bacon, sausage and pork tenderloin, as well as a baker who has fresh cakes and breads each week. Another company sells charcuterie boards. There’s even a vendor who sells all kinds of desserts that incorporate marshmallows. This year, however, additional vendors include two companies that sell pet products and treats, and another that sells hand-woven baskets from Africa.
The summer season of the farmers market runs every Thursday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. through September 1. There is live music every week, featuring various up-and-coming local musicians. Plus, on the first Thursday of each month they are hosting the Market Concert Series from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. On those nights, various food trucks are on-site as well.
According to Latour there are at least 300 parking spots, all within a five-minute walk of the plaza. On Thursday nights during the farmers market, a shuttle is available for folks to use, thanks to a partnership with the city.
Visit downtownwestfieldindy.com and click on the “Farmers Market” tab for info on parking, a full list of vendors and more.