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Shoppers peruse Diana's Garden, a vendor at last year's farmers market The market is now open for the season every Thursday until October from 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Beatrice is kicking off the produce season Thursday with the first farmers market of the year downtown.

Main Street Beatrice hosts a farmers market each Thursday from 4-6:30 p.m. from mid-May to mid-October. Main Street director Michael Sothan said the event is a downtown tradition that evolves through the season.

“The market will be in a similar fashion to the past couple years,” he said. “We’re certainly looking forward to it. Of course at the start of the season there’s different products than people might think of during the summer months. I would definitely encourage shoppers to check out the market, but don’t expect sweet corn and cantaloupe yet. It will continue to grow and add products as we reach summer.”

Each week the event is held at the Country Cookin’ Café parking lot at Eighth and Court streets downtown, which Sothan said is a good location for the farmers market.

“Our vendors have really liked the location because it offers good parking and visibility for those driving by,” he said. “It’s maybe not the most shady location, but worked out well for farmers market and we thank Country Cookin’ for letting us be there.”

The number of vendors peaked last year at around 35, and Sothan noticed that there’s been a shift over the years to younger vendors selling their products, some as a hobby and others as a business.

“We’ve definitely been seeing a shift in the age of our vendors getting younger,” he said. “Some longtime vendors have been retiring and thankfully their shoes are being filled by a younger group, which is a good sign for the future of the market.

“The farmers market is adding to the culture and health of the community and really supporting growth. Some of these folks are starting a business and some are backyard farmers. They’re providing a product and service. The community is really hungry for high quality products that I hope everyone can really enjoy.”

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