You don’t have to wait until June to enjoy fresh, locally grown produce.
Saturday morning marks the official opening of the first Spring Columbus Farmers Market downtown. The market on Fourth Street, between Jackson and Washington Streets, will be open 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Becky Church, chairwoman of the Columbus Farmers Market Committee and member of Columbus in Bloom, said she’s hopeful the market will contribute to the revitalization of the downtown area.
“You kind of forget how quiet and unoccupied downtown is on a Saturday morning,” Church said. “We’re hoping to bring a reason to come downtown.”
What: Spring Farmers Market
When: 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays, April 27 through May 25
Where: Fourth Street, downtown between Jackson and Washington Streets.
Information: 371-1866 or firstname.lastname@example.org
As a way to promote and celebrate Fourth Street’s renovation, Church said the city approached Columbus in Bloom about moving the summer farmers market to Fourth Street between Jackson and Washington Streets. However, the limited space would have cut the market’s size by a third, she said. And then there were the logistics with parking and ensuring there was sufficient room for vendors and customers, she said.
Since the market began in 2008, it has grown to include more than 100 vendors, located between Brown and Lindsey streets in the Cummins Inc. parking lot.
“Moving the entire market wasn’t feasible,” Church said. “As a compromise, the spring market was created.”
About two dozen area farmers and vendors will take part in the spring market.
Whether you’re shopping primarily for fresh beef and pork products, produce or plants and gardening supplies, you’ll find them at the spring market.
Vendors such as Kate’s Cottage, Poseys and Pumpkins, and Froggy Girl Designs also will offer clothing, flowers, artwork and collectibles.
Columbus in Bloom, the parent organization of the Columbus Farmers Market, hopes the spring market will be an opportunity the community will support and embrace.
Lori Moses, owner of Double Oak Farm, has participated in the summer farmers market since it began and looks forward to seeing the spring market blossom.
“I hope that this is the beginning of something really great that is just going to grow in the future,” Moses said. “And attract more customers and vendors.”
Moses will have baked goods and a variety of produce, including radishes, kale and wheatgrass for sale this spring.
She and several other vendors also plan to participate in the summer market, which starts June 5.
Among those vendors is Rachelle and Meghan Cole of The Hen House. The sisters make natural, homemade products, such as laundry soap and soy candles, in addition to growing fresh produce.
Both women work full time, and Rachelle Cole is a full-time student, taking agricultural studies classes at Ivy Tech Community College Columbus/Franklin. She says the biggest challenge in preparing for the market is finding time to make the products.
“On average, we may work 25 to 40 hours a week preparing products,” Cole said. “And that doesn’t include tending our garden.”
Cole said there definitely seems to be a higher demand for fresh, locally grown produce and natural products in recent years.
“There’s a lot of stuff that goes on in larger industries,” she said. “For us, it’s all about getting close to nature and getting our food as close to nature as possible. We use these products because it is healthier for us and our families, and we want to pass it on to others as well.”