Farmers Market Open in Ak Village

OMAHA(April 24, 2013) -- The Omaha Farmers Market will launch its milestone 20th season on Sat., May 4, in the historic Old Market (11th and Jackson Streets) and Sunday, May 5, in Aksarben Village (67th and Center Streets).

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska is a sponsor of the Market at Aksarben Village.

After the long off-season, local farmers and vendors will return to offer fresh produce, plants, baked goods, meat products, crafts, treats and refreshments every weekend—a total of 25—through Oct. 19 and 20.

The Omaha Farmers Market was established in 1994 on the same corner lot where Omaha’s City Market had last stood 30 years prior.

“The Omaha Farmers Market was the very first farmers market in Omaha,” said Vic Gutman, who helped launch the Market. “We began with only about 30 stalls and several hundred people attending, but we saw the growth potential immediately.”

The Farmers Market eventually grew beyond downtown. In 2010, the first Sunday Market opened at Aksarben Village and will expand from 75 vendors to 85 vendors this season. The two locations jointly see thousands of attendees each weekend, Gutman said, and vendors and staff hear over and over how the Omaha Farmers Market has become part of visitors’ weekly routines.

“We’ve really dedicated ourselves to making fresh, healthy, local food accessible to everyone,” Gutman said. “And by providing an outlet to consumers, we’ve made it more feasible for local growers to be more successful.”

Strong commitment to community is another objective of the Omaha Farmers Market’s administrative organization. Vendors and customers donate produce to area shelters weekly, and the Market hosts a full meal at the Siena-Francis House each fall. In addition, The Omaha Farmers Market was one of the first markets in Nebraska to accept SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), government benefits available to low-income households. During May and June, SNAP users can get a $5 bonus each week.

As part of this ongoing commitment, in 2011, a third, smaller Farmers Market opened at Charles Drew Health Center, 30th and Grant Streets, to serve the North Omaha community. The Charles Drew Farmers Market will be open in 2013 from July 10 to October 2, on Wednesdays from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

For additional information, interviews or photos, please contact Heidi Walz at hwalz@vgagroup.com or (402) 345-5401, extension 104.

For more information, contact Nathan Odgaard, (402) 982-6528.