The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

April 13, 2013

Growth spurt

Enid Farmers Market readying for 5th run

By Robert Barron, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Corey Groendyke is heading up her fifth Farmers Market season, beginning May 11, and she has great expectations for the season and the future of Farmers Market.

The market normally opens the second Saturday of May, the week after Tri-State Music Festival. June 22 is the annual GreEnid promotion. Hours are 8-11 a.m. each Saturday during the season.

The market offers home-grown fresh fruit and vegetables — hoping to help promote healthier eating — and other products that promote healthy living.

“Last year we had a new blackberry producer. Normally, because of the season they can’t stay very long, but he had more blackberries than the market could sell, so that’s good news,” Groendyke said.

This season there will be new vendors to feature prepared foods, baked goods and crafts. Groendyke is working on the state and national levels to allow food stamps to be used at Farmers Market to purchase healthy food.

Groendyke began researching the market more than five years ago. She was approached by some local producers who knew of her interest in healthy eating and promoting food produced in the region.

“We slowly started meeting interested parties, producers and coordinators and a very exciting adventure began,” Groendyke said.

That was the winter of 2008, and the summer of 2009 was the market’s debut.

She said she enjoyed researching markets in other states and the fact people consume what they purchase, giving them fresh options locally.

“I like to think about the sense of community it brings,” Groendyke said. “While trying to expand the market and vendors, we want to expand the heart so people will want to participate every Saturday.”

Groendyke said she enjoys walking around with a cup of coffee in her hand, talking with her friends and letting her children run around and play with the toys and crafts. There is a good demographic mixture at Enid’s Farmers Market.

“We’re starting to make Farmers Market a viable option for both the consumer and the producer. It  pulls in a nice cross-section of Enid. The food stamps will help reinforce that diversity,” she said.

Another aspect of the market is  expanding the knowledge base of a healthy lifestyle. She plans to begin promoting awareness of healthy eating by launching a blog, probably as Farmers Market kicks off. She hopes the blog will be an educational outlet for learning about healthy food.

Groendyke’s interest in healthy food was the catalyst that got her interested in establishing Farmers Market. She said as people walk through their lives, they go through the motions, until they receive a wake  up call.

“I thought it would be good to  think proactively instead of reactionary,” she said. The 20-year vegetarian hopes to educate about eating healthy by blogging about how certain foods affect the body and provide tools and information about what is in food and how it affects your family.

She said she will provide basic information to offer a database of awareness.

Hopefully there will be local individuals who are experts in fitness an other aspects of being healthy who will contribute to the blog, she said.

Enid Farmers Market is a 501(c)3 organization.

The market has a new president in Kayte Anton, and the volunteer base and vendors are growing.

“We’re very frugal, and I’m looking forward to the 2013 season,” Groendyke said.