As spring fades into summer, one downtown Lebanon location is bustling with activity. The Lebanon Farmers Market, currently the site of 13 vendors, has plenty to offer its customers.
All photos by Emily Bixler
First entering the market, customers are immediately greeted by a wide array of fresh fruits and vegetables at Red Barn Produce.
Red Barn, which also runs a smoothie stand, has been set up at the Farmers Market for two months. Cynthia Kilmer of Red Barn explained that for her stand, business has been booming.
“The customers are wonderful, we have a lot of local customers that come every week and business is doing very well,” said Kilmer.
At Red Barn, all currently in-season produce is grown locally and much of it is also organic.
“I think it’s a great spot in the city that not everyone knows about and when people find it they’re really excited and they say this is going to be their one stop produce shop,” said Kilmer.
Aside from produce, the Farmers Market offers plenty of cooking staples, such as from Keener Poultry and S. Clyde Weaver Meats and Cheeses. The Farmers Market Facebook Page announced the name of the newest addition to this lineup May 27: King’s Butcher Block, which will offer what its name suggests.
The Farmers Market also contains offerings for customers with a sweet tooth: Candyrama has everything from candy bars to sweet confections to candied nuts and fruits.
One of the longest running vendors at the Farmers Market, Candyrama also is fairly large in size to accommodate its wide variety of wares.
If you’re looking for freshly-cooked food, the Farmers Market also has you covered. A variety of vendors prepare meals to customers, who have the option of taking the food home or eating in the market’s upstairs dining area.
One of these vendors is Divas Have to Eat, which offers a rolling menu of Soul food, Spanish food, Caribbean food, and more. Along with most other food vendors at the Farmers Market, Divas Have to Eat has been open through the entirety of the pandemic.
“The market was open the whole time, we never closed down,” explained Divas Have to Eat owner Dee Sanders. “It was hard for all of us in here, it really was, but some in the community came out, they supported it.
“Even when they didn’t have it they still came out and supported us so that we could stay in business and I really appreciate them for that. If it weren’t for them, there would be no us, this market would’ve been closed.”
Sanders has been running Divas Have to Eat for four years and has been at the Farmers market for two.
“I love cooking, I do, and I love to see the expression on somebody’s face when they actually taste my food,” she said. “I just feel like I need to bring it out to the public and let them enjoy what I enjoy doing.”
While many Farmers Market vendors sell food, that isn’t all the market has to offer. One vendor, African Paradise, sells a variety of genuine African art pieces and clothing items.
“I’m African American and this is my cultural background,” explained owner Richard James, who has been at the Farmers Market for 1.5 years but selling art since around 2001. “My people are mostly from Africa—some of my relatives were Native Americans, but I’m mostly African American—and my parents took pride in their culture and their background and their history, and instilled it in me.”
Unlike many vendors at the market, African Paradise was closed for several months during the pandemic, as it was considered a nonessential business. Now, James is working to build up his clientele.
“[Business is] slowly, gradually, coming back but it’s still an issue,” he explained.
“The customers are extremely diverse, more diverse than I realized that it would be,” said James. “We have lots of Latinos, we have lots of African Americans, we have whites with diverse nationalities. That’s what I love. I love the mixture of people. Overall, the clientele has been wonderful. It’s taken some time for them to get accustomed to what I’m selling because it hasn’t been here before.”
To see for yourself what the Farmers Market has to offer, look at its list of vendors here or visit in-person at its downtown Lebanon location.
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