Produce plentiful at cold-weather farmers market

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Farmers don't stop being farmers just because the calendar says it's winter.

And people don't have to stop buying from farmers just because the mercury dips.

That's the premise behind the Columbus Winter Farmers Market, held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every other Saturday at the headquarters of Charity Newsies, 4300 Indianola Ave.

The next one is scheduled for Jan. 4.

The Winter Farmers Market season continues through March 15.

"A lot of people seem to think it stops with sweet corn and tomatoes," said Cathy Rollison-Krist, founder and manager of the market. "We still have farm mortgages to pay, we still have livestock to feed and we still have perishable produce to sell."

Although there seems to be a growing awareness that farmers have potatoes, onions, garlic, cabbages, maple syrup, jams, jellies, chicken, turkey, pork and beef to sell all year round, there needs to be more, in Rollison-Krist's opinion.

"This season started out a bit slow," she said last week. "A lot of people again seem to think the market stopped when tomatoes and sweet corn stopped. It's getting the awareness out there ... that there are some fantastic products to be had throughout the winter.

"You get to meet the people who make, grow or produce the product that's there."

Along with a variety of produce and other items, the Winter Farmers Market features a variety of people doing the selling.

"We have our vendors who have been with us since the inception six years ago and we get new ones each year," Rollison-Krist said. "Generally, it's your true farmers who stick it out. Your urban farmers seem to tend to get pulled in by sports, so they don't want to give up their Saturdays.

"For the most part, we try with our market at least ... to have a diverse selection to try and draw in a diverse clientele, and we try to do that at our market with different types of products such as baked goods (and) artisan soaps.

"We have a gentleman who brings soul food, and an all-vegan vendor. We have three different farmers who have extended their seasons with their greens and items of that nature."

Columbus Winter Farmers Market Saturdays also are about local entertainment, Rollison-Krist said.

A different band plays during each market, she said.

The market also features demonstrations, including an upcoming one that shows shoppers how to use herbs.

A list of future demonstrations can be found at the market's website,

"We try to stick solely with local live entertainment with what we call 'commerce music,' " Rollison-Krist said. "We still need our vendors to be able to hear to conduct business with their customers, but we want to have the background music. It puts people in a better mood."