Years ago, before there were weekly farm markets, there were farmers that had small markets that sold what they raised directly to the public. One of my mother’s favorite markets was the J.C. Meier Market, located at 2300 Lower Silver Lake Rd. here in Topeka. The Meier Mrkt. is one of the few things left that is pretty much unchanged from my childhood. Sometime in the early 80′s I guess they enlarged their market and instead of it being an all open air market it now is in a larger building that can be secured at night.
They always had a little bit of a rivalry with the J.G. Meier Mrkt. that is about a half a mile to the west of the J.C. Meier’s Mrkt. (closer to the railroad tracks) I think that they were cousins maybe? But anyway, now although the “J.G. Meier Mrkt. is still open rumor has it that J.G. has retired and the market is being run by a family from Manhattan, so no longer actually operated by a Meier.
During the summer it is pretty much of a regular weekly outing of ours to “go to the country to get vegetables” as my mom used to call it. Even though now, I think, the market is actually within the Topeka City limits. Lots of great memories of coming there during the summer! Back then it was very common for them to have two prices one price was if they picked the vegetables and the other was if you picked. I was actually pretty happy they stopped the “you pick” option, that is some back breaking work!
The last time I was at the J.C. Meier Mrkt. I was asking them if their business had increased because of the trend of many to “shop local. They said that their business had been a bit slowed because of the farmer’s markets. People used to come to their place to shop and now the farmer’s markets are very popular and it is easy to forget they are still there everyday of the week (except Sundays). The message I want to get out to everyone in Topeka is to try and support the farmer’s markets but also don’t forget about the people that have been in a family owned business for at least 40+ years that I know of.