Ann DeGrandchamp

Ann DeGrandchamp, photography by Neal Bruns

Ann DeGrandchamp quite literally grew up at the historic Southside Farmers Market. (Or is it South Side? No one’s quite sure.) Regardless, the market is literally in her blood: her grandfather Fred Schlup was one of the market’s founders 90 years ago this year, and selling his produce there was all her dad Dick Schlup ever did. She learned to make change selling tomatoes and corn, and these days, you’ll still find her inside the historic H-shaped market every Saturday. Find out what her favorite farmers market vegetable is as we play 20 Questions.

1. What does Southside Farmers Market have that the newer farm markets do not?
It’s the history. It’s been there since 1926, and I think that’s why people like going there. It’s covered so you don’t get rained on, and the wood stoves keep you warm when it’s cold. For its age, it’s in pretty good shape.

2. Why do you think Southside Farmers Market has lasted for 90 years?
People just enjoy coming to us. There’s good bargains; we have the freshest produce and a lot of different vendors.

3. How has the “eat local” trend changed what you do?
We definitely try to grow what people are interested in buying. We’re there to serve the customers.

4. What are you expecting more of this season, cropwise?
Lettuce and greens and more of that. They’re getting pretty popular. And corn, of course. We do get Silver Queen (corn) direct from Florida – they pick it, pack it on ice and when it gets here it’s still got the ice on it, so you know it’s fresh.

5. What’s new this year?
We’re hoping to get more daily vendors. You can rent a space for $20 a day, and we provide the stand. We have a lot of non-food vendors, crafters and such.

6. How do you ensure everyone’s safety?
There are Board of Health guidelines, but it’s up to each individual vendor to apply for (licenses).

7. How has your clientele changed over the years?
We’re seeing a younger crowd coming in. A lot more families  are trying to educate their children on where their food is coming from. They bring them in to meet the farmers.

8. How have the vendors changed?
A lot of them haven’t changed. A lot are still there. We have more crafters. You know, it’s a lot of  work. We always try to get more produce vendors.

9. How do you recruit new vendors?
They kind of find us. There are other markets out there, but we’re under a roof. They’re not going to have their (goods) blown down the street or be rained out.

10. So what influence does the weather have on Southside Farmers Market?
Not a lot. We’ve got to fire up the stoves if it’s cold or open up the doors to get that cross breeze if it’s hot.

11. What’s your favorite farmers market item?
A homegrown tomato. They’re hard to beat.

12. What’s your go-to farmers market summertime meal?
Sweet corn, zucchini and pepper stir-fry. I don’t even miss the meat.

13. Are there too many farmers markets nowadays?
I don’t get out and see a lot because I’m always at the market on Saturdays. But there’s room to share.

14. How have your vendors responded to the higher demand for organic produce?
They definitely prefer the organic route. It’s just the hassle and complicated process to get certified that affects them. The majority of the produce there is grown that way (organically).

15. Have chain grocery stores like The Fresh Market and Fresh Thyme Farmers Market affected business?
I don’t think so. They may specialize in produce, but to me, you can’t get a good peach in a grocery store. The air conditioning just sucks the juice right out of them.

16. Who is your typical customer at Southside Famers Market?
It varies. There’s the people who’ve been coming since they were little kids, and now we’re seeing the younger generation. As long as  they can walk in, we see them. I have people tell me, ‘My mom brought me,’ and now they’re bringing their kids.

17. What makes farmers markets so special?
I think a lot of it is seeing all the produce set up, the smells and the chance to talk with the producer. You can ask them what’s the best way to keep it, and they’ll talk your ear off. It’s very social.

18. What’s your favorite memory?
Probably helping my dad, Dick Schlup and my grandpa, Fred Schlup, at the market.

19. What’s the best way to support farmers markets?
Come often. There may be something else in season from what was there before. Indiana’s growing season is always changing. You can check our website for a growing seasons chart.

20. What excites you?
Food. I’m a pretty healthy eater. (As a child) I helped grow it, so I was willing to try just about anything, and most of it was pretty good, so I kept on eating it.

First appeared in the June 2016 issue of Fort Wayne Magazine.


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