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Local vendors sell art, pastries at farmer’s market on campus

| Friday, September 15, 2023

Student Government hosted their own version of the South Bend farmer’s market Thursday afternoon, featuring vendors from the South Bend area.

Anna Jang, student government’s director of community engagement, said the goal of the market is to expose Notre Dame students to local businesses.

“We did contact a lot of different businesses in the South Bend area, and then these wonderful vendors got back to us. And they get to keep 100% of their proceeds,” Jang said.

Kathryn Muchnick | The Observer
Local vendors sold art and pastries at a farmer’s market at Fieldhouse Mall organized by student government.

In addition to local vendors, Downtown South Bend, a nonprofit organization that partners with the city to put on events downtown, had a booth to tell students about opportunities in the area. Quinn McKenna, who graduated from Notre Dame last year and organized the first farmer’s market on campus, now works at Downtown South Bend.

“Over the last like 15 years, we’ve just seen a ridiculous transformation in South Bend and downtown South Bend especially. It’s just a really vibrant city, a beautiful place to be,” McKenna said. “And there’s so much that goes on that people don’t know about.”

While studying at Notre Dame, McKenna said she noticed that students usually engage with South Bend in a service partnership.

“There’s so many awesome businesses, so many cool restaurants, coffee shops, that sort of thing. I think the goal of this student [government] department, in particular, is so awesome because they want Notre Dame students to engage with the community in a non-service context,” she said.

For students looking to explore downtown, McKenna recommended Cloud Walking Coffee or First Fridays, an event for which the city blocks off the 100 block of Michigan street to feature live music, dining, retail specials and more.

Four other vendors, some of which also own booths at the South Bend farmers market, sold food or merchandise Thursday.

Trudy Mark bakes kieflies, a traditional Hungarian pastry, for her South Bend farmer’s market booth called Mom’s Kieflies.

In 2015, after hearing that a few of the bakery spots were closing at the farmer’s market, she decided to start selling kieflies during the holidays.

“We took them in on a Saturday, and we were sold out by 11 a.m. So we took them in again the next Saturday … and we were sold out by one,” Mark said. “Ever since then, we’ve been just generally building over the years, and now I own a booth that I’ve had for five years.”

Mark inherited the family recipe for kieflies and runs Mom’s Kieflies with her family.

“It means [a lot] for me … to have my family working all together,” Mark said. “My daughter helps with the Facebook, and she’ll roll dough. My son sells out of Mishawaka farmer’s market, and he rolls the dough. My grandkids do the stickers and cards sometimes and help out too. So it’s just a family affair.”

Jenna Trethewey was also at the farmer’s market, operating her shop. The Olive Tale sells handmade jewelry, and customers can order customized jewelry with lines from their favorite books.

“I started my jewelry business over three and a half years ago. I went sober, and I needed something to do to keep my mind busy and my hands off the bottle, so I started messing around with jewelry,” Trethewey said. 

The Olive Tale is a regular vendor at the New Buffalo farmer’s market in Michigan, and Trethewey also sells at art-focused events in South Bend.

Early in the afternoon, a GrubHub robot on the way to deliver an order knocked over her tent, and it ripped while Trethewey was parking her car. Despite the mishap, though, she said the students were enthusiastic about her art and the music was “fab.”

Shaina Poland was also selling jewelry and authentic gemstone accessories for her booth Gems of Pride.

“I do sell at the Mishawaka farmer’s market as well as the South Bend one,” Poland said. “It’s actually been really fun selling to students because a lot of my styles are more geared towards a younger demographic, and so it’s nice to be able to do a pop-up where it’s a good fit for me and my artwork.”

Daniel Jung, student body president, said he hopes the market helped students realize how much variety South Bend can offer.

“I mean, we’re all about community building at student government, and we see the South Bend community as part of the Notre Dame community,” Jung said. “For us to be able to reach out to them and for them to be so gracious to come here, it really speaks volumes about this collaboration, this partnership and we’re really excited to continue going forward.”

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