GREEN – The Green Farmers Market has become far more than just a large vegetable garden.
Visitors will find a wide range of products from meat, bakery goods, crafts, a café and even on-site homemade donuts from 25 signed-up vendors from across Northeast Ohio.
Opened June 18, the market has a brand new site – next to the city’s Central Administration Building on Town Park Boulevard in a portion of city-owned property that is part of the Central Park vision of Mayor Dick Norton.
The vendors are open only on Tuesdays from 3 to 7 p.m. now through Oct. 8, according to Kim Goodhart, the market manager and member of the Green Parks and Recreation Division responsible for this outreach program.
Green resident Beth Steenwyk (cq) and children Clara and Nathan were ecstatic about the taste of the donuts they just bought at the Olde School Donuts shop, which is on wheels and is where owners Keith and Betty Lou Johnson make their donuts on site to ensure freshness.
“Yum. They’re delicious. Very fresh-tasting,” said Steenwyk after the children spent $1 each of their own money for the three treats before biting in to them and both saying “I love it!”
“We make our donuts here in the trailer,” Keith Johnson explained. “We have a fryer in the trailer, and as we need them we make them right in this small unit.”
Their first year as Green vendors, Keith Johnson said, “We made most of them when we first got here,” as his wife waited on customers shortly after opening.
“Sometimes, if it’s raining or if we know it’s going to be a short day, we’ll bring some with us to start, which we will make in our driveway before we leave home. And then are some places we don’t have electricity.”
As for their donuts’ popularity, Johnson added, “We sell out pretty close every time, except when it rains and then gets a little slow. We don’t like to run out.”
Doc Jenkins of D‘n A Maple Syrup of Randolph joined fellow Green vendors in the last six weeks of last year’s farmers market at the urging of a another vendor and he is back again this year.
“Last year, Kim and a vendor friend kept bugging him to come down since nobody was selling maple syrup,” Jenkins said. “So I came down and here I am again this year. I’ll be here every Tuesday, and if it rains, I’m still going to be here.”
The Jenkins have 42 buckets hanging in their front yard to collect sap and a total of 148 on their property.
Retired since 2003 from General Motors in Lordstown, Jenkins and his spouse make maple candy as well as the syrup, which he sells in Green in quarts and pints.
“I don’t have any half gallons with me, but I can get them,” he said with a smile.
For four years now, the Hawk family of East Rochester has been bringing their all-natural meats to the Green Farmers Market, with business growing from a part-time vocation to a full-time venture as of late June.
Spokesperson Traci Hawk gave up her full-time job to make this a full-time career, selling frozen, vacuum-packed beef, pork and chicken from their trailer and two deep chest freezers.
“My husband and I started this about four years ago, and we wanted to bring the all-natural products to the people,” Hawk said. “That’s how we were raised – on all-natural meat – and it is kind of a little lost secret of ours.”
Able to provide their products year-round, the Hawks have a mobile food license, and their animals are free-range, meaning they have the option to be grain-fed or grass-fed.
“We purify their water, and there is no stress on them,” Hawk said.
Lisa Mitchell of Barberton started her American Serenade Coffee, Tea and Wine Society last October after she had spent 15 years in corporate America, and now is at farmers markets in Green, North Olmsted and will be in Barberton when it opens later this month.
“The whole philosophy I wanted for the company was American-made products, supporting small, mom and pop boutique shops… supporting small businesses,” said Lisa, whose husband Chris is a Barberton police officer.
“I went to look for great quality products, no bitterness to the coffees and teas, but at great prices, too, where you didn’t have to get boutique coffees for boutique prices. I wanted to bring people around the table to spend time with their families and friends.