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The Best Little Farmers’ Market

I am blessed to live in a town with a lively and thriving Farmers’ Market.  It is a source of healthy food, friendships, and growing businesses.  Today was the last day of the regular market for the 2018 season, and already I look forward to the Winter Market later this year.  Even though I am sometimes traveling or unable to make it to the market, it is my soul place- there are vendors there I have known for years and who know me as well when I show up at their booth.  

Cupcake from Lucky Lemon Bakery

I am always excited each year to see who the new vendors are, and revel in the bounty that comes out of their hard labors.   I appreciate each and every one of them so much.  And all the vendors never stop amazing me with their creativity and new experiments- where else could I find a brains cupcake? 




After shopping today, I took out the 360 camera and shot some video bites, so you could also share in the awesomeness that is the Kokomo Farmers’  Market.  Take each video for a literal spin and see what joy you can find at our Market.

That is Lindsay Fisher of Art and Animals with her Pals in the Little Sprouts Club Tent.
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My local Farmer’s Market

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In Kokomo, we are lucky to have a woman who is dedicated to and runs the local farmer’s market.

Part of the market is set aside for makers and artisans

There are two double sided aisles in the rest of the market, with offerings from organic meats to flowers for the table:

IMG_3419The market is family/kid friendly, pet friendly and  accessible.IMG_3420

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I think one of the things that I love most about the market, is the feeling of community.

 

 

IMG_3418 I am not the only one, lots of people end up hanging out, talking to friends or family or people they have not seen “in forever”.

IMG_3417No one wants to shop and leave the market right away.  IMG_3430
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Hanging at the Farmer’s Market generally makes me feel better about humanity whenever I spend time there.

 

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How to Maintain a Tradition and still Innovate Art.

This hexagonal structure is a furnace that gets rebuilt every couple of years.

It is the furnace where they melt the ingredients for Kokomo Opalescent Glass.  We are incredibly lucky, here in the City of Firsts to have the oldest remaining factory in the US who still makes old fashioned Stained Glass sheet glass.  They have been making art glass on this site since 1888.  The glass comes in a multitude of colors/color mixes and textures that are “printed” into the glass when it is rolled into a sheet.

This glass, that starts its life as what looks like a pile of sand, and gets carried by running men in giant metal ladles to go into the rollers, has ended up in many cathedrals around the world.

The results of combining up to 5 colors of glass at a time and a multitude of textures is a series of rooms of gorgeous sheet glass- each one slightly unique in all the world.

In addition to being shipped globally to repair old stained glass ( a series of batches went out to Japan this summer to assist with repair stained glass in cathedrals damaged in their recent catastrophes), this glass also ends up in new art, like that made locally by Little Town Glass and OgreWorkshop. Look Carefully at glass in the top cog- what do you see that was created by the mixing of the glass?

The KOG factory does tours all week. The day we were there, there were stained glass lovers from three different states and some local folks as well. It made a great Geek Family Outing for three generations of our family that day. You can see more pictures, including shots of the glass blowing section of the factory, in this album:

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Tales from a Dying Town: an Intro

I live in Kokomo, IN. This is a blog post I have resisted writing for over a month, but the truth is there is a story unfolding here that needs to be told. Until December 9, 2008, most of the world had never heard of Kokomo, and Kokomo was fairly content for that to be true. On December 9, 2008 Forbes.com published their list of the “Fastest Dying Cities and Towns” and Kokomo made number 3 on the list of Dying Towns. Enter instant worldwide infamy. How could a small city, once renowned for its innovations ( it is known as the City of Firsts), have become the place expected to be the most impacted by the failure of the Big 3 automakers? The outlook for Kokomo’s future is not bright. Unemployment continues to climb, and the number of jobs continues to decline.

One of the points of failures is the fact that the town enjoyed incredible amounts of easy prosperity for many years. My neighbors may hate me for pointing it out, but as a unified city, they got a little lazy. The two major employers in town are Chrysler and Delphi ( historically, Delco Electronics). Both of these companies have been in the town for more than 70 years ( at least 3 generations) and in the last census, were responsible for employing almost a quarter of the town directly. If you are a teenager with long family local family history living here, Chrysler and Delco (as Delphi is still lovingly referred to) have always existed. There is a reasonable probability that at least one of your parents worked there, likely that one of your grandparents did and almost impossible to imagine that one of your great grandparents didn’t. Those two companies are intertwined into the roots of the community so deeply that most people can not imagine the city without them. Imagining the city without Chrysler is almost as impossible as imagining the new skyline before the Gas Tower was imploded in 2003.

Although the two companies have been here for a long time, they did not always employ such a high percentage of the city’s citizens. From the late 1890’s until 1960, there were many other local companies cranking out innovations. As Chrysler and Delco expanded their operations, it became easier and easier for the local residents to just go to work for the big employers rather than continue their educations, continue innovating, or start their own business. There were not many other towns in the 1980s and 1990s where you could get a high school diploma and go to work and make over $50,000/yr. People became complacent and rode the wave high.

But now the wave has bottomed out and many folks have been caught with their bellies grinding onto the sand. It could be a complete disaster, the end of an era. But amongst the depression and anger and feelings of betrayal, there are signs that give me hope that Kokomo might not die after all. The entrepreneurial spirit is making a come back and I see many interesting businesses and ideas starting to gel. Although times are hard and desperate, it is possible that Kokomo could make it through this dark tunnel and come out a stronger, more diverse town. It will be highly dependent on the individual spirits and the drive to succeed that I hope has not been bred out of the inhabitants of this town I call home.

It is my intent to do a post at least once a month following the trials, tribulations, failures and successes of my friends and neighbors as they struggle to survive this tidal wave of economic failure. I welcome your thoughts, feedback and caring commentary.