Summer is here, which means it is officially farmers market season! Foodies, shopping addicts and local supporters are all in for an exciting and tasty time at one of Mansfield and Richland County’s farmers markets. Farmers markets continue to become more and more popular due to the desire to buy food free of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). The fresh produce, herbs, treats and products are sold directly to consumers–meaning fresh and seasonal food!
Whether you’re a food lover or shopping addict, farmers markets will not disappoint. These markets offer a variety of food including, but not limited to, produce of all sorts, a variety of juices, teas, herbs and jams all from local farmers. How often do you find affordable, healthy and delicious food all in one spot? Almost never, which proves why farmers markets are so significant. And for the sweet tooth, each market has its own variety of freshly baked goods, including cookies, breads, jams and more! Clothes, accessories, art and other products are also available at the farmers markets by local vendors and artisans. There is such a variety of products, including homemade soaps!
Whether you choose to support local farmers, restaurants or stores, you are helping a town and economy grow by just attending a market. The farmers markets have so much to offer, and they also provide a way for farmers and people from urban communities to deal directly with each other. This helps consumers better understand the benefits of purchasing quality, locally grown or prepared food products. Farmers markets are not only fit for the whole family, but also a fit for the whole community. Markets better the environment because local food does not have to travel far, therefore reducing fossil fuels, pollution and packaging costs. They also ensure healthier food and benefit local economies.
The Richland County area consists of seven farmers markets to offer to everyone, including the Alta Greenhouse Farmers Market, Bellville, Downtown Mansfield, Holy Trinity, Malabar Market Stand, North End and Shelby Farmers Market. Each market is scattered throughout the week at the given dates and times:
- Alta Greenhouse Farmers Market: June 4 – early October: Saturdays 2-5 p.m.
- Bellville Farmers Market: May 14 – Oct. 1: Saturdays 9 a.m. to noon
- Downtown Mansfield Farmers Market: Starting May 27: Fridays 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Holy Trinity Farmers Market: May 31 – Sept. 13: Tuesdays 3-6 p.m.
- Malabar Market Stand: Starting June 10: Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- North End Farmers Market: Starting May 24: Tuesdays 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Shelby Farmers Market: June 4 – October 1: Saturdays 9 a.m. to noon
Every market has a different aspect that could make it the perfect fit for you, but all of them do carry the fresh produce you may be looking for! The Downtown Mansfield Farmers Market accepts Ohio Direction Cards for all meat and produce to ensure you can afford tasty and nutritious food. The North End Farmers Market also accepts Ohio Direction Cards and you can double your dollar amount by $20 to spend on fresh produce! The North End Market promotes healthy lifestyles, encouraging people of all ages to attend their cooking demonstrations, fitness activities and even free blood pressure checks.
The sense of community is a very big aspect when it comes to many farmers markets, especially the Shelby Market. “We try to make it feel like an extended family,” Aileen Stewart, manager of Shelby Farmers Market, said about their annual market. At the Shelby Market, you will be sure to find the crowd favorites such as, mini quick breads, jellies and jams.
If you’re a fan of the Malabar Farm Restaurant or hike the area often, you’re in luck! The vegetable stand that was once owned by Pulitzer Prize winning author, farmer and conservationist, Louis Bromfield is now back. The history behind this stand is so sensational, even the actor James Cagney sold produce here at one point in time. The restaurant decided to open the market back up to sell fresh produce, flowers, gift baskets and the ever so delicious house coffee and tea! The produce is always cold and fresh due to the natural spring that runs the market space.
As a food lover, shopping addict and local supporter all in one, I could name countless benefits of every farmers market. They bring the community together and provide such fresh and tasty food for locals and for people traveling to enjoy. Plus, the experience of it all is such an added bonus–of course, as long as it’s a nice day!
Written by Molly Kardasz, CVB intern