Market vendors step up during trying times

By Katrina Bush - For the Record-Herald

Fayette County Farmers Market patrons may remember that last summer the Ohio Farmers Market Network (which includes us) conducted a Rapid Market Assessment. This was a one day event (July 27, 2019) in which general, aggregate data was collected on customer attendance, and the response of customers, using a “dot” survey, for their primary reasons for shopping at the market. Information was also collected from vendors on this one day to assess and extrapolate one day sales at the market.

David Persinger and Gwen Laurens (Market Managers) represent Fayette County for the Ohio Farmers Market Network, whose mission is “to support and strengthen farmers markets in Ohio…[with} a vision for the future….[of] sustainable markets and profitable farmers and food producers.” This Rapid Market Assessment was designed to provide Farmers Market members with point in time data with minimal effort on the part of vendors or customers.

The results of this assessment indicated that on this one day, 789 customers were counted as attending, each spending on average 25 minutes at the market. It was estimated that total sales for the day were $5,834 (20 vendors), which demonstrated customer purchases averaging around $11 each. Perhaps most interestingly, 53% of customers reported that the primary reason they attend the market is based on the selection of produce, while 19% stated the primary reason was to socialize.

We certainly have fewer vendors this year, for a number of reasons. David has traditionally spent hours prior to and during each Saturday market figuring out how to place vendors so that they are close together, but this year we are more spaced out, for health and safety, and the market certainly has a different feel. But vendors are stepping up to provide fresh produce and baked goods, face masks, jams and honey, and we see and greet the regulars and are fortunate to welcome new shoppers each Saturday.

The Market is open Saturday morning from 8:30 to noon and is located in the municipal parking lot on the corner of South Main and East East streets in Washington C.H. SNAP EBT food benefit cards and credit/debit cards are accepted. Those using the SNAP EBT card for food purchases receive matching dollar “Produce Perks” tokens ($1 for $1) good only for fruits, vegetables, and food producing plants. So,”buy one, get one” for up to $20 EVERY market day. $5 coupons will be available again for FAYETTE COUNTY Farm Bureau members at each Saturday market; these can be spent at both the Wednesday (which started this week) and Saturday markets.

The following list contains the names and products of the vendors that expect to set up this Saturday. Other vendors may participate as well. Vendors who provide their phone number may be contacted for advance orders.

Cozy Baby Blessings (Nancy Cutter): Face masks for adults and children, crocheted baby blankets, hats and wash cloths, flannel burp cloths and teething toys, crochet pot scrubbers and dish cloths, coasters and wax melts (over 60 scents available).

Engedi (Alana Walters, Janet Bick, Beth Day): Assorted home baked goods including cinnamon rolls, yeast bread and rolls, cookies, fruit pies and noodles.

Greens & Greenery (Katrina Bush): Shrubs and perennial flowers for native habitat. Lemon grass. Homemade sourdough crackers (“everything,” garlic/turmeric, rosemary, jalapeno/cumin, poppyseed). Homemade baklava with farm honey and mini pecan pies. Beeswax hand and cuticle creams, lip balms, and natural insect repellent.

Kelsie’s K-9 Creations (Jennifer Anderson): featuring healthy, limited ingredient cookies and treats for your 4 legged friends.

King Farms (Jeff and Sandi King): Green onions, cucumbers, zucchini, red and Yukon Gold potatoes, lettuce and spinach. Iced sugar cookies, banana bread and other baked items.

Persinger Produce and Cottage Food (Julie Mosny & David Persinger): The Pie Lady –assorted fruit pies, Iced sugar cookies, oatmeal cookies, cinnamon rolls, cinni mini’s. Also assorted varieties of potted daylilies available for purchase and local honey. The Jam Man – assorted jams and jellies.

Your Other Mother’s Kitchen (Don & Sara Creamer—740-572-0134 – make advance orders before 5 p.m. Thursday): Artisan bread, muffins.

B.Y.E Gardens (Brian and Elaine Yoder): tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, lettuce, green beans, snap peas, onions, kale, cinnamon rolls, peanut butter cookies, sweet breads (pumpkin, banana, banana-nut, zucchini, strawberry), small pies (apple, pecan, blackberry, raisin, cherry). Call Elaine @740-606-6333 to place special orders.

By Katrina Bush

For the Record-Herald