Back in 1978, when farms within Marion County were a little more common, Bruce and Carol Waterman established Waterman’s Farm Market on what was then their more than 50-year-old homestead. They aimed to create a place where customers could select produce themselves, ensuring the freshest quality without the distribution middleman. Even then, the Watermans wanted to bring the farm-to-table experience to the Indianapolis metro area.
Over the next 45 years, they found success and Waterman’s Farm Market earned a reputation for Hoosier-grown eats such as luscious strawberries, sun-ripened tomatoes, delectable sweet corn and a cornucopia of other crops. As a family-owned enterprise, they harvested their vegetables meticulously, ensuring freshness, optimal nutrition and value. For other growers, they provided a venue to present such wares as Michigan berries and Georgia peaches and a shop where artisans sell handmade quilts, jams and sauces.
Like all industries over the past 100 years, farming in Indiana has changed considerably. As Marion County saw growth in tech, logistics and higher education, Waterman’s rooted itself as one of the last farms amongst the disappearing independent growers. Nearby four-lane highways brought sprawling neighborhoods, bustling streets and commerce to what was prime agricultural land, but Waterman’s Family Farm remains dedicated to preserving a historic Hoosier farm legacy and providing a consistent supply of produce to a diverse public.
In an effort to stay relevant amidst change, the Watermans introduced the now famous 40-year-old Raymond Street Fall Harvest Festival. Originally known as the Waterman’s Farm Fall Harvest, the family-friendly event started with hayrides to the pumpkin patch and has grown to an almost five-week seasonal celebration, bringing families from around the Midwest. Parents and children can pick pumpkins, explore a corn maze and enjoy live music, food bars and a petting zoo.
The Raymond Street Fall Festival has become a cherished experience for generations of Midwestern families, showcasing the Waterman’s Family Farm and Market commitment to becoming a place for the future, instead of a thing of the past.
Dates: Through October 31; festival closed on Mondays
Location: Waterman’s Family Farm, Raymond St. Location – 7010 E. Raymond St, Indianapolis, IN 46239
Cost: Weekdays $13; weekends $15