Locally grown produce, home-baked goods and hand-made crafts will take center stage at the Olde Pickerington Farmers' Market for a sixteen-week engagement throughout the summer in downtown Pickerington.

Locally grown produce, home-baked goods and hand-made crafts will take center stage at the Olde Pickerington Farmers' Market for a sixteen-week engagement throughout the summer in downtown Pickerington.

The Farmers' Market will make its debut from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 6, in the city-owned parking lot at the corner of North Center Street and Town Square Drive, one block north of state Route 256, in the Olde Pickerington Village area.

Thereafter, the market will be held every Thursday at the same time and location (with the exception of July 4th) through Sept. 26.

Maggie Arendt of the Olde Pickerington Village Business Association, the event's sponsor, said health-conscious area residents have been pining for a viable venue in which to purchase fresh locally-produced goods for some time.

"A couple of years ago OPVBA did its 'Market Days' and so many of the shoppers asked us why we didn't Pickerington have a Farmers' Market," Arendt said.

She said the OPVBA has a dozen vendors lined up for all 16 weeks, but that number is subject to change.

"We hope there will be a demand to add more vendors as we go into the season," Arendt said. "We'll wait and see."

She said the Farmers' Market is a "local" affair.

"Everything is grown in central Ohio, and the majority of vendors are from Fairfield County," she said, citing Pleasantville, Bremen, Canal Winchester and Pickerington as some of the source locales from which the products are derived.

Items slated for sale include things such as vegetables, fruits, meats, chicken, eggs, jams, breads pastries, flowers, soaps and various crafts, organizers said.

As local consumers seek out healthy options, Arendt said they will also get the opportunity to "talk directly to the farmers" that grow the produce and meats.

"OPVBA felt this is really a nice link between the rural and urban population," Arendt said.

"It's a great way for people to get to know the farmers and vice versa," she said.

Shoppers might also be comforted knowing regulatory provisions mandate the offerings be fresh, Arendt said.

"A lot of people want to know what's in their food," she said.

"All the ingredients are listed as part of the state Department of Agriculture (regulations) which (ensure) there are no preservatives," she said.

The OPVBA aspires to have the market serve as a community focal point as well by offering entertainment, food-related demonstrations and special promotions at the site in the future officials said.

Organizers say the ultimate goal of the Farmers' Market is to simply have people discover the hidden treasures of downtown Pickerington.

"The mission of OPVBA is to promote Olde Pickerington Village so we're hoping the market traffic will generate more traffic there also," Arendt said.

Opening day June 6 is the culmination of almost a year of planning and preparation for the Farmers' Market to come to fruition, she said.

"People are really excited about the Farmers' Market, they all say they're coming. Hopefully, we'll have a big crowd," Arendt said.

The OPVBA said there is ample parking on the two-acre site only a few steps away from the food and craft vendors.

For additional information about the Olde Pickerington Farmers' Market, including a list of vendors and products, or to obtain a vendor application, go to OPVBA's website at www.pickeringtonvillage.com.