Gray Street Farmers Market brings fresh food to the city


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The Gray Street Farmers Market returns to downtown Louisville for its seventh season on May 14, offering fresh food, cooking demonstrations and tips for healthy living to those who live and work in Smoketown, Shelby Park, Liberty Green and the UofL Health Sciences Center area.

    Ten market vendors will sell fresh, locally grown vegetables and fruit, pasture-raised meat and eggs, honey, jams, baked items, flowers, plants and more. The market is one of select farmers markets where customers can use SNAP benefits (formerly the food stamp program) or Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Vouchers to purchase fresh local produce. Food trucks will also rotate at the market to provide lunchtime options for visitors.

    The market’s opening day will be Thursday, May 14 from 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. along the 400 block of East Gray Street, between the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness and the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences. Markets will be held each Thursday, rain or shine, through October 29.

    Customers will have the chance to meet the vendors and ask questions about how the vegetables were grown or how to prepare new varieties of fruit or vegetables. Some producers will offer samples of their products.

    Steve Hess of Lowe Creek Farm is a long-time vendor at the market. A former businessman and science teacher, he began growing food to feed not only his family, but others as well.

    “It’s a unique environment because it’s a lunchtime market. It is focused on public health and that is why I’m growing the food,” Hess said. “We are close to what will be a high density neighborhood and I would like to see more residents take advantage of the opportunity to buy farm-fresh produce.”

    Chef and health coach Mat Shalenko is scheduled to present cooking demonstrations at the market on June 11, August 27 and October 8 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to inspire buyers in healthy food preparation.

    In addition, UofL’s Get Healthy Now program will invite employees and customers to carve out 20 minutes to participate in their “Take 20” sessions at the market. These fitness sessions, held from 12:30-12:50 p.m., include Mini Boot Camp (May 14), Play (May 21), and Zumba (June 11).

    The market is coordinated by the UofL School of Public Health and Information Sciences and the Louisville Metro Department of Health and Wellness in keeping with the mission of both entities to promote healthy eating and increase access to local, healthy food.

    “Public health is about creating conditions under which people can be healthy, and that is why we are involved in this initiative,” said Craig Blakely, PhD, MPH, dean of the UofL School of Public Health and Information Sciences. “Making fresh fruits and vegetables available in a food desert, as well as providing opportunities for health-related conversation and activities supports our mission.”

    “Reducing obesity and chronic disease are shared community goals for improving the health of our city by 2020,” said Sarah Moyer, MD, MPH, interim director of the Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness. “Farmers markets are great ways to bring fresh, healthy foods into our neighborhoods. Making sure our markets accept SNAP and Senior Nutrition program vouchers makes them affordable and accessible.”

    Gray Street Farmers Market Quick Facts

    Betty Coffman
    Betty Coffman is a Communications Coordinator focused on research and innovation at UofL. A UofL alumna and Louisville native, she served as a writer and editor for local and national publications and as an account services coordinator and copywriter for marketing and design firms prior to joining UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing.