The downtown Topeka Farmers Market is open and ready for business. Every Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to noon shoppers can browse among a variety of fruits, vegetables, plants and homemade goods. As the season progresses, the variety of produce will change, so consumers are advised to stop in often for something new.
The market has been open in Topeka since the 1930s and has continued to grow. Erika Whighstil, owner of Kennah’s Treasures, which specializes in boutique hair bows, girls’ accessories and hand beaded natural jewelry, has been a vendor at the Farmer’s Market for the past 12 years.
“The market has grown by leaps and bounds,” Whighstil commented when asked about how the crowds have looked for this year’s season.
She advised Washburn students to come down to the market during their summer break.
“It is a fun atmosphere, it is free to browse, the food is all organic and I would say all of the various other items are 90 percent handmade,” said Whighstil. “Plus, it’s close to the university.”
Some vendors will move their stalls around each Saturday morning. Others, like Kennah’s Treasures have been in the same spot season after season and its owners are regular faces each week.
Affordability is another reason to visit the farmers market. Martha Smith runs a stall that is new to the market this year called Martha’s Homemade Munchies. All of her baked goods are only $1 each.
Smith said the reason that she decided to open a stall at the market this year is because she loves to bake so much.
“I’m retiring from my full time job and wanted to get the word out [about baking],” said Smith. “The market is a great way to do that.”
The time that the vendors have had a stall at the market varies, but one constant is their genuine pride in their products.
Another product available for summer grilling is homemade barbecue sauces and butters. Jerry Slyer has been with the farmers market for three years and sells BBQ sauces, pickles, salsas and butters. His stall is a perfect stop before pulling out the grill, and unique flavors give an extra kick to summer night hamburger grill outs.
The farmers market is a great place to check out as a college student. Proximity to campus, affordable prices and organic produce are all benefits to the typical student. For those on a budget, the market’s atmosphere to practice bartering and bargain shopping. The market also serves as a place to meet new people and get involved with the Topeka community.
The market’s last day of operation this year will be Saturday, Nov. 2 so Washburn students can visit all the way up into the fall semester.
The location of the Topeka Farmers Market is at the corner of 12th and Harrison, south of the Judicial Building. For more information about the market or for information about becoming a vendor, visit: