One of the best ways to experience local flavor in any area is by visiting a farmers market. It’s no different in The Bend, where you take a peek into our area’s soul by visiting farmers markets in South Bend and Mishawaka.
There’s a buzz at the South Bend Farmers Market, especially on Saturdays in the summer, that you can feel as locals chat with vendors they’ve known for years while the scent of fresh popcorn and flowers waft through the air. Mishawaka has also introduced a farmers market, an outdoor version planned for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. every Sunday between early May and September at Central Park. History runs deep at the South Bend Farmers Market, which runs all year. Get to know it a little better before your next trip.
History at the Market
The South Bend Farmers Market traces its roots to 1911, when the Colfax Street bridge became the first site of the “public market.” It stayed in that location until 1923 as a year-round operation open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from dawn until 10 a.m.
Growing to more than 100 vendors, the market moved in 1923 to a different location then again in 1928 to its current location on Northside Boulevard.
Fire destroyed part of the Market in 1971, so a new building opened in 1972. Some traditions remain in place. It still operates the same days as when it opened in 1911: Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays with the addition of Fridays starting the first week in May an ending in late September. Many vendors have been operating inside the Market for decades, creating a classic local feel.
Visiting the Market is a must for any foodie traveler spending time in The Bend.
Consider starting your day at the café, a diner-style restaurant that sits at the heart of the Market. It’s the type of place you’ll likely hear, “want your usual today?” as many locals make it a regular stop. And they’ll tell you the menu is bursting with flavor.
Most dishes are prepared using ingredients — fruits, vegetables, eggs, etc. — right from the Market. That freshness helped make the café one of 10 finalists during 2017’s Breakfast Wars competition.
If you’d rather grab some quick bites while strolling the Market, you’re in luck.
Stop by DeLo’s Café for a cup of coffee. While it’s being made, peruse the wide assortment of specialty coffees for purchase along with loose leaf tea, spices, caramel apples and popcorn.
Visit more booths and you’ll see fresh dough being turned at Ben’s Soft Pretzels. There’s fresh meat available at multiple counters. Hiatt’s Poultry is one of those longstanding vendors, having been at the Market through the generations.
Looking to put together some to-go food before heading out to enjoy one of the many parks in the area? Grab some gourmet cheese or maybe a dessert from one of the vendors selling pies, pastries and more.
Market vendors can help you cover any meal, plus some snacks along the way.
It’s not just food at the Market.
Several vendors specialize in retail goods. A Wee Bit Warped puts on weaving demonstrations and sells art. A few different booths sell custom jewelry. Others offer wreaths, plush animals, antiques, collectibles, soaps and herbs.
Questions? Don’t hesitate to chat with a local artisan about their work.
Insider Tip: If you’re in town for a Notre Dame football game and need to fill out your tailgating menu, the Market is a great option Saturday morning with multiple meat counters. You might impress people in your group with bratwurst flavors like pineapple, garlic butter, sweet cherry or bacon blueberry from Rochester Meats & Deli.