MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon Farmers Market opened a month earlier this year. The change is due, in part, because of the success of the market. But it is also designed to open up a market for some early produce that is generally past its peak by the time June rolls around. Cool-season vegetables and bedding plants will be featured at the May markets.
The experiment resulted in more than 20 vendors being on hand, selling asparagus, rhubarb, baked goods, plants and more. Many thought it was a good idea to open the market early.
Debbie Henthorn, owner of The Wright Taste, was busy unloading bread and other baked goods as the 9 a.m. starting time approached.
“I’m tickled [with the May dates]. I’m thrilled,” she said. “My next market starts in the middle of May, so it was nice to see this start. A lot of the other ones in central Ohio are starting a little bit earlier this year. The one in Westerville starts next week. For us, it’s an extra month. But there’s more to it than the sales, because you develop a camaraderie. You get to see your customers that you haven’t seen all winter.”
Henthorn has a licensed home bakery and brought a smaller-than-usual inventory of baked goods. She said she wasn’t sure what to expect from the weather and wasn’t sure just how many people would come to the event.
Another vendor, Paula Barone, is a newcomer to the farmers market and is in favor of the early start this year.
“I’ve wanted to do this for a long time and finally decided to give it a try. I like the early opening,” she said. “I’m selling pizzelles, biscotti and canoli shells.”
Barone did all of the things required by the health department and took the vendor’s course offered by OSU Extension.
The Mount Vernon Farmers Market is on Public Square every Saturday, rain or shine, and runs through October. Selling begins at 9 a.m. and runs through noon. All goods are locally grown or produced within a 25-mile radius of Public Square. Information is available on the Knox County OSU Extension Web site or by calling 397-0401.