The Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce Farmers Market kicks off its 27th year on May 20.

The market will be held from 8 a.m. to noon each Saturday through Sept. 9 in the Town Center.

Thirty-three vendors are expected to participate in the spring market, which will run May 20 through June 24, said Marilyn Reiner, the chamber's events manager.

"We used to start the farmers market around the Fourth of July, but things are so weather dependent," she said. "There would be farmers whose produce was ready to harvest and sell in the springtime and they couldn't really wait until the summer."

The summer market will run from July 1 through Sept. 9, Reiner said.

"The great thing about our market is that the vendors are so diverse. It's not just a place to buy potatoes and cantaloupe," said Shawn Conrad, the chamber's executive director.

Along with produce, visitors will be able to buy everything from dog biscuits, iced teas and coffee to spaghetti sauce, bison, jams and jellies, honey mustard, pies and soaps -- all made from all-natural ingredients, Reiner said.

"It's more than just a 'farmers market,' " Conrad said. "It's really a fresh, homegrown outdoor grocery store."

A popular returning feature will be the cooking demonstrations, Reiner said.

"We provide a chef with $50 and they use it to shop at the farmer's market, then create a dish using the ingredients they bought," she said.

Visitors enjoy finding out what recipes the chefs will cook up on the spot, Reiner said.

"It shows people what you can do when you use fresh, homegrown ingredients," Conrad said. "I think people enjoy the cooking demonstrations as much for the education as they do the entertainment."

The cooking demonstrations will be presented each week, Reiner said.

On dates to be determined, a mayor's challenge will test city officials' ability to come up with a recipe using ingredients purchased at the market and a friendly competition will be held between teams comprised of Jeff Pearson and Steve Robinette, the current and retired Grove City police chiefs respectively; and Randy Little and Rick Dawson, the current and retired Jackson Township fire chiefs.

"They are always really fun events," Reiner said of the challenges.

Each Saturday, a raffle will be held for a smoker grill, she said.

The proceeds from the raffles will be donated to the Grove City Chamber Foundation, Reiner said.

Market visitors also will be able to take home a container they can use to recycle food waste.

"We're looking at it as kind of a precursor to the Eco-Fest that's going to be held downtown later this summer," Reiner said.

"Each week people can bring their bucket back and their food waste will be used by an organization that will compost it and sell it to farmers for use as fertilizer," she said.

With the completion of public parking lots behind business along Broadway, visitors to the farmers market will find parking more convenient than last year when parking was reduced in the Town Center area, she said.

"It didn't really impact our attendance; it just made it a little more difficult for people to get to the market," Reiner said.

The Grove City Chamber's Farmers Market received two awards last year, including being voted in the top three in The Columbus Dispatch list of Farmers Market CBUS top picks.

"Our cooking demonstrations are really popular," Conrad said. "And the variety of what you can buy at our market, people like that."

But it's the small-town, community atmosphere of the market that keeps people coming back, she said.

"The Town Center setting is so perfect for an event like this," Conrad said. "And you can feel a sense of community. The farmers, vendors and visitors all know one another and just enjoy visiting with each other and catching up.

"Marilyn (Reiner) and I are out there every weekend, and it's such a pleasure," she said.

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