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COLUMBUS — A showcase for locally made and grown items is back with the opening of the Columbus Farmers Market.

Vendors selling fresh produce, baked goods, handcrafted furniture and other one-of-a-kind products will set up in Frankfort Square from 7:30 a.m.-noon every Saturday through October.

The market kicked off earlier this month. More vendors will be appearing every week as the growing season moves along, topping out at around 60, said coordinator Shirley Enquist.

Unique items and fruits and vegetables grown locally make the farmers market a draw for area residents.

“The things here are handmade, homegrown and home-baked. There’s no commercial line of things here. It’s all unique and all the products are local. Nothing is shipped,” Enquist said.

An estimated 95 percent of what is sold is produced in Platte County.

“That is a big cornerstone of a farmers market,” Enquist said. “You’re supporting your neighbors, relatives, that sort of thing when you come to the farmers market.”

Those unable to make it on Saturdays will have another chance to check out the market during the week. For the first time, the market will be open on Thursdays when Lawnchairs on the Square events are not being held in the park. From 4-8 p.m. until June 4 then again from Aug. 20-Oct. 29, shoppers can stop by the market on Thursday nights.

This year also marks the start of a farmers market in Monroe. Enquist said people there showed an interest in having their own market, so vendors will be selling products in Monroe from 4-8 p.m. Wednesdays near United Methodist Church.

The list of products being sold in Columbus includes common and popular items like vegetables, fruit, flowers, crafts, home décor, towels, handmade soap and fresh-baked goods. There are also vendors selling farm-raised poultry, beef, pork and eggs.

There are new woodworking vendors on site who make furniture, signs and lawn decorations.

LeRoy Lynn and Tammy Kugler operate Crafts and More 4 U, which sells purses, hats, benches, tables, jellies and other items.

All of the wood products are made from recycled lumber, like siding from old barns and crating material from local businesses, which Lynn said helps reduce waste. He has been doing woodworking for several years and started the business about three years ago by creating unique and custom-made orders.

Vegetables available now include rhubarb, asparagus, green onions, radishes and lettuce. Other produce will be coming in the next few weeks. Sweet corn will be available in mid-summer and pumpkins in the fall.

Vendors at the market honor coupons for the farmers market nutrition program for low-income seniors. Those who qualify can pick up coupons from Columbus Community Center and use them to purchase fresh produce.

Enquist said new vendors are always welcome. To reserve a space, call her at 402-910-6205.

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