Farmers market going strong as summer winds down
Vendors at the Reynoldsburg Farmers Market continue to offer a rich array of fresh produce, baked goods, honey and other items, despite this summer's frequent rainy days.
Nadine Morse, market manager, said the market is still in full swing from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. each Thursday at Huber Park and will continue through Sept. 26.
She said people have been flocking to the market, located adjacent to the Reynoldsburg Senior Center, 1520 Davidson Drive, despite rainy, cool days this summer.
"We have been pleased at the crowd we have had this year, in spite of the days we have had some rain," she said. "We are encouraged that the word is getting out more and more and that people enjoy buying local.
"It is an educational process for everyone at the market -- vendors learn what people in the Reynoldsburg area are interested in purchasing and customers get to learn a little more about what they buy from local farmers."
The market just received an in-kind contribution of five signs from Sam Cimilucca of Signarama in Reynoldsburg, Morse said.
"We had been using normal size directional signs, but realized they were not large enough," she said. "Signarama gave us five much larger signs to display each Thursday."
Morse said the market is in its sixth season in Reynoldsburg, with many favorite vendors returning and a few new ones coming each week.
She said one vendor is missing this year -- John Schultheis, better known as "the lemonade man." Schultheis died unexpectedly late last year at his home in Pataskala.
"He represented the true spirit of a community farmers market," Morse said. "He always had a smile, was eager to talk to his customers about anything and everything, helped other vendors set up and tear down their tents and making sure everyone was doing well and had a good time. It's like losing a family member."
His wife, Joni, maintains a baked goods booth at the market called Joni's Just Desserts.
Morse said Mrs. Schultheis was "overwhelmed" by the support and encouragement she received upon returning to the Reynoldsburg Farmers Market this season, as people told her they missed "the lemonade man."
"Thanks to the support of Joni's family and friends, the lemonade stand returned to the market this year," Morse said. "Although John is not there to greet everyone and discuss current events, customers are encouraged to stop by, purchase a cup of lemonade and drink to the memory of the lemonade man."
Morse said 18 to 20 vendors usually set up at the market, but that number can whittle down as the season continues, as local harvests deplete or as vendors go back to school or work.
"We try to keep a balance of vendors, so we don't have too many produce vendors or too many baked goods vendors, so we do not dilute the sales," she said. "We have our regular vendors, but we often also have guest vendors."
People also can listen to local entertainment when they visit the Reynoldsburg Farmers Market. The Alum Creek Singers were scheduled to perform Aug. 29; singer Eric Solomon will present country rock Sept. 5; local recording artist Ruvane will perform Sept. 12 and the Shaw Brothers are scheduled for Sept. 19.
Morse said Reynoldsburg Parks & Recreation Department personnel are vital to keeping the market running.
"It is their crew that helps to make this happen each week," she said. "It is a lot of hard work on their behalf, as well as the vendors, which makes the market a success."