One of the benefits of living in a rural area is the easy access to fresh fruit, vegetables, dairy and meats. The Southern Ohio region provides a bounty of farmers markets to visit. In addition to tasty treats, you can find handcrafted items such as jewelry and soaps. Buying locally builds relationships within the community, and also helps strengthen small businesses that rely on your patronage.
You can also be introduced to a variety of foods you may not be familiar with, since markets may provide more options than a larger food store chain. The farmers are knowledgeable in the various ways to prepare and cook these veggies and fruits. Pick a rainbow selection as each color family of vegetables carries its own helpful nutrients.
Additionally, shopping at the local markets helps reduce the carbon footprint, since there are reduced transportation costs. Shorter transportation time means that there is not as much loss of nutrients.
Gary Smith, vice president of the River City Farmers Market in Marietta, describes their offerings: “We have vegetables, flowers, fresh grown herbs, baked goods, a guy that does all natural smoothies, crafts, you name it we got it. We’ve got beef, lamb meat, rabbit meat, pork and eggs. Everything there has to be homemade, handmade or home grown.
“We have our annual customer appreciation breakfast, scrambled eggs, sausage, different types of breakfast food. It’s free to the public. We appreciate our customers and do this every year. It’s actually the kickoff of the spring season. That starts at 9:00 till noon, that’s usually until the food’s gone,” Gary says. Check out the event on Saturday, May 9.
Athens Farmers Market was founded in 1972 in a parking lot and after many successful years they were ready to move once again. In 1998, the market relocated to the parking lot of the University Mall, which provided more space for both vendors and customers.
Kip Parker, the site manager and the treasurer, grew up on a farm, and was a customer of the market before joining the organization. He explains the criteria for inclusion in the market: “Products must be agricultural or horticultural products that vendors grow/produce themselves.”
The market includes vendors that provide vegetables, both organic/non organic, they also carry meats such as egg, beef, pork and lamb. They also have cheese vendors. Rounding out the selection is honey, maple syrup and baked goods. Kip adds, “We have pie makers, cookers, and ready-to-eat sweet kind of things. We have a number of artisan bread people, that’s a nice addition to ours or any market, I think.”
So the next time you need to go grocery shopping, consider all that the farmers markets have to offer: fresh air, friendly folks and delicious food.
Farmers Markets in the Southern Ohio region:
The market is open every Thursday from 3 – 7 p.m., located on Jackson Pike, next to the Gallia County Jr. Fairgrounds and behind the Medical Shop.
It is also open every Saturday from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Gallipolis City Park along State Street.
832 Jericho Rd
Cheshire, OH 45620
Athens is open on Saturdays year round, from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. They are also open on Wednesdays, April through December. Beginning May 7, the market will also be open on Thursdays from 4 – 7 p.m.
PO Box 951
Athens, OH 45701
Trimble Township Farmers Market
The market is open May to October, Fridays, 4-6 p.m. at the Trimble Park (located across the street from Kroger) in Trimble, Ohio.
94 Columbus Rd
Athens, OH 45701
The market is open every Saturday Morning at the Washington County Fairgrounds, 922 Front Street Marietta, Ohio in and around the Poultry Building. Our hours of operation are as follows: January 1 – March 31, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.; April 1 – December 31, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m.
561 Weepier Rd
Lowell, OH 45744
Sweet Apple Farm Market
The market is open September, Sunday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturday 12 – 6 p.m. In October, they are open Sunday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Friday 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. and Saturday 12 – 6 p.m. In November, the market is open Saturday and Sunday 12 – 5 p.m.; other days and hours by appointment.
149 Sweetapple Road
Vincent, OH 45784