On the cusp of its 30th year, organizers of the Worthington Farmers Market are hoping the popular warm-weather attraction will continue to evolve.
The market returns outdoors for the season from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 6, in downtown Worthington, and loyal patrons might notice a few tweaks to the popular formula.
Market manager Jaime Moore said organizers are trying to "implement ideas that attract different customers." In doing so, the market is adding new vendors that "you may not be used to seeing at the market," she said.
Moore said the market always has operated as "sort of an incubator" for almost exclusively local and market-only businesses. But this year, a small percentage of vendors will be companies that sell their products elsewhere.
Root 23 is one example. The Columbus-based company sells flavor-infused simple syrups -- largely for cocktails -- at a variety of central Ohio shops and farmers markets, but its products also can be found in other cities and states.
The market still will focus on its core group of local vendors, but businesses like Root 23 can add something, Moore said.
"There's a market for that and there are customers who are looking to be able to purchase products like that," she said. "You're going to see some new vendors. One of the impetuses for this was that we want to make sure the market is totally full (of vendors) all the time."
The market certainly has no problem filling up with visitors. Moore said it's nearly impossible to get an accurate count, but organizers estimate that more than 5,000 people come in and out of the market on a typical Saturday.
It's become so popular that Moore and others have heard parking concerns from visitors. Although parking is a typical complaint for downtown events of all kinds, Moore said, she hopes people would take a few minutes to park just a bit farther away and still attend.
"It's not a parking problem; it's a walking problem," she said. "We just hope people take the opportunity to park a little farther away and enjoy the time to walk into the market."
As usual, the market will offer a full slate of programs and events to go along with its vendors.
Highlights include the popular Yoga on the Green, the youth-focused Market Sprouts program and a new addition, Taste Education, that began at the indoor version of the market during the winter months.
Taste Education highlights an often unpopular or disregarded ingredient that can be found at the market.
March was Moore's month, and she chose to make three dishes with turnips.
"It's an opportunity for people to try something they've never tried or that they thought they hated," she said.
Later this summer, market organizers also plan to coordinate for the first time with neighbors to the south.
The Clintonville Farmers Market turns 15 this summer, and the markets will celebrate both of their milestone anniversaries Aug. 12.
Although the details aren't final, Moore said, both parties are excited about the plans, which could start a new trend of cooperation.
"We're always trying to enhance the relationship between the two markets," Moore said. "If this is the place it starts, so be it. We'll go forward from there."
For more information, visit worthingtonfarmersmarket.com.