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New farmers' market in Commerce Center adding more vendors

River Valley Farmer’s Market is open year-round on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Saturday’s from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is located on the ground floor of the Commerce Center at 401 E. Colfax Avenue.

SOUTH BEND, Ind.--A new farmers' market located in South Bend’s Commerce Center that is run by two local farmers is adding more vendors to its list.

River Valley Farmers' Market opened to the public in late October after signing a lease to the space about a month prior.

The year-round farmers' market, founded by local farmers Rebecca Miller and Michael Richert, offers the community a chance to form relationships with the farmers who grow their food.

“There’s a disconnect with where your food comes from and I think there are a lot of misinterpretations of how things are grown, how farmers treat livestock and this gives a really good opportunity for not just the farmers but the consumers to form relationships,” Miller said.

Miller and Richert have farms just a few miles away from each other and hope that the new nonprofit farmers' market will benefit their fellow local farmers.

Miller operates a farm in Lakeville and Richert operates a farm in North Liberty.

Only farmers and producers that grow their product are able to set up shop in River Valley’s space. 

Currently, vendors include Miller’s Goats and Gardens, Richert-Phillips Farms, Zen Cafe, and Unity Gardens. 

Items for sale include locally roasted coffee, honey, vegetables, soaps, meats and more. Miller says if you see baked goods out, they were just baked the night before.

In the next few weeks, Get Juicy, a juice bar, and Glazed and Confused, a donut shop, will join the growing group.

Miller and Richert decided to take on the nonprofit designation so that in the future, they can establish a disaster relief fund for local farmers who experience hardships like weather-related delays or loss of livestock.

Both farmers themselves experienced a delay in their farming due to weather over the last year. Miller also lost all of her root crops due to the weather.

“We were delayed for about a month, at least,” Miller said. 

River Valley Farmer’s Market also offers a cooking class for the young farmers in the community. It’s open to all ages and runs on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

“They just get a chance to cut up vegetables. I help hold the knife so nobody gets cut! They get to try different foods and we try to focus on in season local produce,” Miller said. “Some kids who have never had Brussel sprouts get to try Brussel sprouts, or collards, different things and some of them like it and some of them don’t but they do all try it, which is neat.”

Miller hopes to add more community classes as time goes on. In the summer, she says the market will also set up shop outside.

River Valley Farmers' Market is open year-round on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Saturday’s from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. It is located on the ground floor of the Commerce Center at 401 E. Colfax Avenue.

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