Finally, it's time for local farmers markets to open. Carmel and Noblesville markets open today and are the first of 6 local farmers markets/u-pick farms that will be open this spring and summer in Hamilton County, Indiana. I can vaguely remember going to the farmer's markets in downtown Indy when I was a kid. I remember fruits and vegetables as far as the eye could see, trucks loaded with melons and tomatoes and other goodies from local farmers. Today's farmers markets are a little different. Yes, you'll still find some of the freshest, best local produce around but there's so much more.

For example, at the Carmel Farmers market, vendors will have meat, tea, chocolate, sweets, potato chips and more. Special days this summer include a Firehouse Chili Cookoff.

The vendors at the Noblesville market will have produce, plants, soaps, baked goodies and honey. Farmers markets now even have special events like chef visits, and cooking contests. Watch for Pet Day and Pie Day later this summer. With such a diversity of vendors and so much going on, you can't visit a farmers market just one time. Some of the farmers market faithful come back week after week to find their favorite foods and vendors. If you can't swing a weekly visit, make sure you come back at least a few times to see what's in season and check out new vendors. The Carmel market is open 8 to 11:30 a.m. on Saturdays from May 21 - Oct. 29. It is in a new location on the Carmel Center Green, just south of the Palladium. Tomorrow, they'll be celebrating Jim Keckley Donut Day by giving out 50 dozen donuts in honor of Keckley, the founder of the market. (That's 600 donuts for those who don't want to do the math.) The Noblesville Market is open 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., May 21 - Oct. 29. in the Riverview Hospital Overflow parking lot. Visit both of these markets early in the season and throughout the season.