Near North: The New Farmers Market on Tinker Street

{This article originally appeared in "Life on Tinker Street" magazine.}

Adam Mueller had no prior experience with the process of starting farmers markets; his professional career as a lawyer at Indiana Legal Services focuses on legal aid for those in poverty.  But Adam is a committed resident of Fall Creek Place and an enthusiastic supporter of community-building efforts in Indy's urban neighborhoods.  Over the past year or so, he had the energy and drive to create the newest gathering place on Tinker Street, Near North Farmers Market, located in the parking lot of Herron High School every Saturday morning this summer.

Adam Mueller grew up in Zionsville, Indiana, while his wife Lisa Adler grew up not far away in Brownsburg--but they never met until they were in law school together years later in Bloomington.  After graduating and getting married, they lived on Mass Ave for a few years until they eventually found their way to an old house that had been rehabbed in Fall Creek Place and became homeowners.  That was 10 years ago.  Along the way, their family grew to include two children, a son and a daughter, who love attending the neighborhood school, Center for Inquiry #27.  Adam and Lisa's original plan didn't necessarily include staying in Indy long-term, but as time went on, they realized they truly loved their community of neighbors and couldn't see a reason to leave.  Now they're looking {somewhat far} ahead towards eventual retirement and being able to stay in their own neighborhood because of its mixed-use, walkable nature.  However, about 3 years ago, Adam started noticing something that was not walkable in their area:  a farmers market.  The Mueller family enjoyed the Broad Ripple Farmers Market on Saturday mornings, but it was difficult to make it a weekly habit because of the 15 minute drive each way.  They realized at the end of each summer they'd only been able to go once or twice, even though they really valued supporting local farmers.  Adam and Lisa started discussing with each other how great it would be to have a farmers market in their neighborhood that they could walk to on Saturday mornings.    

 Adam's idea might have remained just that--an idea--if it were not for his friend Dr. Deborah Cooney, who lives in Woodruff Place and works at Herron High School (and the new Riverside High) as vice president of operations.  In conversation one day as Adam and Deborah were chatting, the idea for a near northside farmers market came up, and she was immediately interested and highly supportive.  This eventually led to Herron High graciously offering the use of its space to Adam and his team for the farmers market, and we as neighbors and beneficiaries are all very thankful.  Adam began talking to community organizations, including Purdue Extension, which operates programs supporting local farmers and agriculture, and he gathered vendors and sponsors, until finally everything was ready for opening day on June 3rd, 2018. 

Here's what to expect if you stop by the market on a Saturday morning between 9:00 am and 12:00 pm, from now through the end of September:  Tinker Coffee, pastries, fresh fruits and veggies from Fruit Loop Acres and Lawrence Community Gardens, pastured eggs, chicken and turkey from Miller Family Poultry Farm, canned goods from Smith's Apple Butter and JF BBQ Sauces and Rubs, Sonshine kombucha, handcrafted wood decor by Project Lia, and more.  The pastries come from Artisan Bakery & Pastries, a shop owned by Jose and Julie Reyes, who are neighbors from Mapleton-Fall Creek.  "At the market we typically bring about 10-15 different pieces of pastries (orejas, conchas, cinnamon rolls, empanadas, yoyos, almond or chocolate croissants, cookies), a couple of breads (jalepeno and cheese, spinach sourdough, and a venetian soft dinner bread), free samples of a 'cake of the week,' as well as the popular rice milk and cinnamon drink Horchata," says Julie.  If you come at 10:00, join in with the free yoga led by Altitud, the fitness studio in the Piccadilly building on 16th Street formerly known as Treehouse Yoga.

Julie Reyes of Artisan Bakery says about the market, "It's a great way to start your day (Tinker Street coffee and our pastries), hang out and reconnect with neighbors and grab some farm fresh items for the week!"  Many thanks to Adam Mueller and other neighbors, sponsors and vendors who have helped make this new farmers market a reality this summer.  It's more than just a way to get weekly veggies and fresh eggs; it's a social space and a conscious way to build community.  We hope this 'pilot year' is the first of many!