When the farmer comes to town

Shop for fruits and vegetables at regional farmer’s markets

By: Stacey Ritz

Photo: Fairborn’s Farmer’s Market is in its ninth year, providing fresh fruits and vegetables to the community; photo credit: Katie Lewallen

“We’re not just a farmer’s market, we are a community focal point,” shared Jeff LaFollette of the Huber Heights Farmer’s Market. “We have grown our community gardens to almost 40 plots. We have started a Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA) where members receive chemical free veggies and we have an urban lifestyle series of classes – everything from ‘Composting 101’ to ‘How to Build Your Own Rain Barrels!’”

Farmer’s markets support local growers and offer a wide variety of non-GMO (genetically modified organisms) foods available for purchase and consumption. Currently, the United States, unlike many other countries, does not require GMO foods to be labeled as such, therefore making the purchasing of wholesome foods somewhat tricky for consumers. By shopping at your local farmer’s market, you can take the guess work out of shopping for healthy, chemical-free foods. When you buy locally grown fruits, vegetables and other foods you can meet the growers face to face and know that you are not only supporting your local economy, but also nourishing yourself with organic foods.

Fairborn’s Farmer’s Market offers more than the standard fruits and vegetables – they also offer baked goods and frozen meat from National Trail Farms. Katie Lewallen, public relations specialist for the city of Fairborn explained, “I like going to the Fairborn Farmer’s Market and getting the fruits and veggies that I need for the week knowing they are grown by local farmers. There are also wonderful baked goods! This is the ninth year for the Fairborn Farmer’s Market. It draws more vendors and shoppers each year.”

Farmer’s markets throughout the region from Yellow Springs to Vandalia are growing in interest and popularity each year. Some believe the growth can be attributed to increasing knowledge about GMOs, while others believe farmer’s markets provide the basis for strengthening communities and bringing people together. Jason Pat of Sugarcreek stated, “I’ve actually never been to a farmer’s market before, but I plan on going this year and checking out what’s available. We become so accustomed to shopping at large national chain grocery stores for our food. But when you think about it, we just seem to go through the motions of buying our groceries each week – never thinking about where the food comes from or what chemicals may be added to them. When you stop and think about those things, it’s pretty frightening. I’m looking forward to going to our farmer’s market this year – I have no doubt I’ll be a returning customer! Just knowing the food is grown locally and is chemical free is a huge positive.”

“We’re planning fun and engaging events such as food demonstrations and children’s activities,” shared Amanda Robb of Oakwood Farmer’s Market’s. Ohio Farm Direct will be selling grass-fed organic cheese, yogurt, summer sausage, trail bologna and hot dogs at the Oakwood Farmer’s Market this year. Organically grown produce by Rosemary Eisenhauer’s Garden will also be available, including herbs, squash, zucchini, eggplant, okra, bell peppers, hot peppers and much more.

Meanwhile, while visiting the Yellow Springs Farmer’s Market you will find White Mountain Honey Farm is now offering raw local honey, bee pollen and natural skin products including 36 varieties of handmade soaps, skin cream, beeswax candles, liquid foam soap and shaving mugs. In Troy, Our Daily Bread is back for a third year offering their mouth-watering sweet rolls and delicious homemade breads. West Carrollton’s Market offers not only cherries, strawberries and other fresh fruits from Downing Fruit Farm, they now also provide goat’s milk; honey lotion, as well as Shea and aloe butter come from Silva Scensations.

“We have a great variety of quality products for purchase at our market – stop by and shop the Sugarcreek Farmer’s Market!” added Sally Skelly, Sugarcreek Township Administrator. Indeed, farmer’s markets do offer a wide array of locally produced items each week. A Bit of Bite Salsa offers beautiful gift baskets filled with delicious products at the Centerville Farmer’s Market and in Vandalia you will find 30 unique vendors ranging from Kona Ice to Mohawk Freestyle Grill.

Whether you have a list prepared or you’re ready to browse for new and interesting locally grown items, visiting your local farmer’s market will provide you with a unique experience that is sure to connect you to the community. “I generally shop with a list, but when I go to the farmer’s market, I come with an open mind, ready to see what new foods they have and what new local growers might be in attendance at the market. It’s always a fun experience,” explained Kelly Ebes of Vandalia.

In today’s fast paced world full of technology, long work hours and a lack of down time, your local farmer’s market offers not only a warm and friendly environment to purchase local goods and produce, but it is also a place to get to know your neighbors and community members – a place to buy produce directly from our farmers. Farmer’s markets offer nutritious, chemical-free foods; they also provide us with a sense of pride in our local communities.

Reach DCP freelance writer Stacey Ritz at StaceyRitz@DaytonCityPaper.com.

Farmer’s Markets in the Miami Valley

Centerville: 892 S. Main St. (Centerville Shopping Center Parking Lot). Thursdays, May 16-Oct. 31, from 2:30-6:30 p.m.

Fairborn:  Fifth Third Commons. Corner of Main Street and Grand Avenue Wednesdays, April-Nov. as crops permit, from mid-morning to early afternoon

Huber Heights: 6178 Chambersburg Rd. Saturdays- June 1- Oct. 26, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. and Tuesdays 3:30-7:30 p.m.

Oakwood:  Public Lot on Orchard Drive. Saturdays, June 29-Sept. 28, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Paris/Dixie Drive-In:  6201 N. Dixie Dr. (Dixie Drive-In Theater). Sundays, mid-April to mid-Nov. (crops permitting), from 7 a.m.-3 p.m.

Sugarcreek Twp:  Cub Foods- 6134 Wilmington Pike. Fridays, May 17-Nov. 2, from 3-7 p.m.

Troy: River Street in downtown Troy. Saturdays, starting May 4, from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

Vandalia:  Segar Park (Corner of Tionda Dr & Perry St). Fridays, June 14-Aug. 30, from 3-7 p.m.

West Carrollton: 833 E. Central Ave. Tuesdays, May 28-Oct. 22, from 3-7 p.m.

Yellow Springs: 228 Xenia Ave. Saturdays, May 1-Oct. 31, from 7 a.m.-noon

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