Holiday farmers’ market reunites regular patrons, vendors during offseason

Lawrence residents Gayle Stuber, left, and Lynn Heffley look through holiday decor for sale at the annual Holiday Farmer's Market Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014, at the Holiday Inn Convention Center, 200 McDonald Drive.

Though the Lawrence Farmers’ Market has closed for the season, patrons and vendors alike will have one more chance to get together for the holiday season.

That’s one of the things Karen Pendleton, one of the Holiday Market’s organizers, said she likes most about the annual tradition, now in its 28th year.

“There’s a feeling of joyousness about (vendors) getting together and seeing each other and the customers that we haven’t seen for a few weeks,” she said. “… The customers know the farmers and have been buying from them throughout the season, and they enjoy coming back to see what they have available for the holidays.”

Pendleton said she’s excited because the market is seeing a trend of more vendors wanting larger booths this year — meaning, they’ll bring more goods. Also, Pendleton said the special market brings out a different side to many of the vendors.

“We have a lot of farmers who might be doing produce throughout the summer, but they have a hobby on the side of blowing glass or knitting or photography that they bring in and will be able to sell at the Holiday Market,” Pendleton said. “So it’s always kind of a surprise to see what some people might be bringing, because it lets out the more crafty side of some of the people.”

All of the vendors at the Holiday Market will be regulars from the Tuesday and Saturday markets, Pendleton said, and all goods will have been produced in the same 50-mile radius the market allows.

That means customers will be able to buy “from a farmer who can tell you about the cherries that they picked and then made into preserves; so there’s a little bit of a story behind the foods that you’ll be able to buy for gifts at Christmastime,” Pendleton said.

Some of the meat offerings available at the Holiday Market will include beef, chicken, turkey, different types of poultry, goat meat, elk and pork, Pendleton said. There will also be a wide range of produce, including vegetables that can be stored for long periods, such as winter squash and sweet potatoes, as well as spinach, turnips, radishes and lettuce.

“We have a lot of people who grow in high tunnels, so they’re able to grow vegetables much longer into the season,” Pendleton said.

There will be plenty of other items for gifts, as well: jams, jellies, wine, pickles and lots of baked goods, Pendleton said. One of the more uncommon options at the Holiday Market will be shiitake mushroom logs that a local farmer has inoculated with spores, so you can grow your own.

“You will find things there you won’t find anywhere else,” she said — that includes tie-dyed socks and scarves, handmade cutting boards, blown glass, ceramics, cards, wreaths, lavender goods and all kinds of decor.

The Holiday Market will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at the DoubleTree by Hilton, 200 McDonald Drive. Pendleton said the Lawrence school district has allowed its parking lot at offices just north of the hotel to be used for overflow parking.

For those who want to avoid the crowds, Pendleton said the market will be packed shoulder-to-shoulder early in the morning, but in the afternoon, the crowds calm down, and some vendors may even offer discounts after a certain time.

“The vendors know to bring enough product that very few will ever sell out,” she said.