Lincoln University Farmers Market builds community

From wine and flower jelly to local produce and natural ointments, the University of Lincoln Farmers’ Market is a place where local artisans can turn their hobbies into income.

Stephanie Durbin found herself in a traffic jam while volunteering at the Runge Nature Center when she took a class about it.

Today, she sells jams and crafts at the LU market. The jams are concentrated around wild plants such as blackberries. The one she won’t do is pick pears.

“I tried once, but the tips contain a slight toxin,” she said. “My hands were numb for a week after trying.”

Durbin said the market season is going well.

Dori McClelland said it was good for her too. She started selling homemade balms last year and said the market has turned into a small community.

“It’s fun because you have regulars, but you also get to know new people,” she said.

McClelland said she started doing balms because she listened to podcasts on the homestead that talked about it. She wanted to try using comfrey flowers, but didn’t know where to find them until an out-of-state friend sent her a plant.

The projects are exciting, she says, because she got to learn more about nature.

“There is an element of discovering all the things you can do with the things around you,” she said.

Colleen Meredith is a seasoned member of the Farmers’ Market, having set up a booth for over five years.

She and her husband sell fresh produce from their farm as well as goat’s milk fondants, meat and soaps.

“Every year is different,” she said. “There are more salespeople, which is helpful. Someone can come for a salesperson, but end up looking around.”

Meredith said the market provides a good opportunity for people who don’t want to sell to stores in the area where they have to meet a quota.

“What you have you can sell. If you don’t have it, you don’t have it,” she said. “With the weather and everything, you can’t predict what it’s going to do. Sometimes there are really bad bugs. It’s nice and flexible.”

Theresa Prenger started coming to the market in May and selling jams made from wine and flowers.

She said she started after reading the book “The Artist’s Way”, which is about going after what you want to do.

Prenger said he made 1,695 jars of jam with six different flavors. She’s working to explore more flavors.

“It has been a fabulous season,” she said. “People have been excited about what I have, and it’s just great.”

The market is open from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. every Saturday in the parking lot of the Lincoln University softball field.

About Cassondra Durden

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