Now officially the third seasonal farmers market in the area, residents north of town have access to a semi-monthly event at Shawnee Mall; the outdoor vendors came Thursday for the first time.

Now officially the third seasonal farmers market in the area, residents north of town have access to a semi-monthly event at Shawnee Mall; the outdoor vendors came Thursday for the first time.

From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on second and fourth Thursdays each month, a farmers market sets up in the south parking lot in the area between Red Lobster and The Garage restaurants, Safe Events For Families (SEFF) member Ed Bolt said.

“It should be highly visible from the service road,” he said.

Bolt said Crows Farm wasn't able to come this time, though it was scheduled to bring some garden selections to the event; it's still a bit early in the season.

“There aren't many vegetables ready for harvest just yet,” he said.

Later in the season will improve their offerings.

Thursday's market did boast gourmet popcorn and Oklahoma beef.

Jim and Kathy Brown, owners of Sooner Kettle Corn, had varieties of popcorn ready for customers, while the couple to their right had a lengthy menu offering cuts of meat from their own ranch.

Also, setting up shop were Bill and Karen Payne, owners of Destiny Ranch, with a stocked freezer full of Oklahoma beef.

Bill Payne said his outfit has been making routine stops in Shawnee for the past two and a half years, and has quite a few regular customers in the area.

He said he hopes to work the market into his already busy schedule as often as he can.

The Browns said they have committed to be a regular anchor for the market. They already have a presence at local SEFF events throughout the year.

The Shawnee Mall market event is planned to be year-round — possibly inside the mall when weather is bad.

Ideally, the market is traditionally better outside, Bolt said, but a backup plan is in the works.

“The mall has the authority to decide whether to bring it inside during bad weather,” Bolt said, “Which is what I believe they are willing to do.”

He said the notion of a farmers market at the mall began when SEFF was approached by the Blue Zones Project in an effort to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

“We were glad to help out,” he said.

An important part of the collaboration, Bolt said, is the concerted effort made to ensure multiple markets will not struggle against each other for business.

“We purposefully have made sure the days and times of these markets are different, so no one is competing,” he said. “The more farmers markets we have, the better.”

Downtown farmers market

Bolt said the Downtown Block Party Neighborhood Farmers Market is set to begin from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, May 18 — and return for each monthly Block Party event. The market should be available each third Friday through Nov. 16.

Though most of the time the market intends to be set up at Celebration of Life Park on the 300 block of Main Street, it may, on occasion, situate itself a few blocks up or down Main — nearer to events like Trail Days or Boo on Bell, Bolt said.

Pottawatomie County Farmers Coop Market

From 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Saturday and Wednesday through October, the Pottawatomie County Farmers Cooperative Market sets up shop on the southern edge of Shawnee — one block west of U.S. Highway 177 on Hardesty Road.

The seasonal open-air market offers a wide variety of 100-percent Oklahoma grown/made products such as vegetables, bedding plants, candles, goat milk soap and lotions, purses, cloth books, local beef, pickles, salsa, sweet and savory breads, honey, homemade pet treats, and more, according to Farmer's Market Online, at farmersmarketonline.com.