Visitors at Gahanna's new Farmers Market can get some free weekly advice from a panel of local men, in addition to home-grown produce and hand-made products.

Sponsored by Make Gahanna Yours, the new market at the Veterans Memorial Park area, 75 W. Johnstown Road, features an Old Fellas Coffee Club Advice Booth.

A banner with the name of the club has a disclaimer -- "It's probably bad advice, but it's free."

Members include Al Boes, 72; Don Jensen, 69; Gene Menning, 89; Bill Myers, 85; Wilber "Wib" Kindler, 93; and Ken Porada, 68.

It only takes a brief stop at the booth before visitors break out in laughter from the group's banter, as was the case June 2 at the market.

Jensen, the group's moderator, said market visitors take pictures of the panel "like we're relics."

"Pretty soon they will want our autographs," he said.

"Our sign is a lot classier than we are," Myers said.

Jensen said the group started with him and Menning meeting for coffee, and then Menning asked if another person could join.

"Al's wife wanted to get him out of the house," Menning said.

The men all live in the same neighborhood, according to Jensen.

While doing research to launch the farmers market, Jensen said, Becky Kneeland, the Make Gahanna Yours president and market manager, found an "Old Coots Giving Advice" booth at another market and thought it would be fun to have something similar in Gahanna.

Jensen's wife, Rhonda, is on the farmers market committee and told Kneeland about her husband's group, which was meeting for coffee at a Bob Evans restaurant off Morse Road.

Jensen asked his cohorts about joining the market, and they were game.

"We have lots of opinions, ideas and stories," he said. "We talk about everything but religion or politics. We talk sports, weather, local goings-on."

Jensen said the friends give each other a hard time.

Boes said they have to be able to take it as well as dish it out.

"You can't take it personal," Jensen said. "You have to be thick-skinned."

Boes said the Old Fellas need people to tell them a story and ask for advice.

"We don't answer a question 'yes' or 'no,'" he said. "We need to have a story told and then we can dissect it and give feedback. That's the way it needs to be."

For every question, Menning said, "the answer is, 'Don't' or 'Do' or 'If I were you, I wouldn't do what you did.'"

Myers, a retired doctor, said if he and his friends fail to give out good advice, at least they give out Lifesaver candies.

Gahanna residents Mike and Ann Flaherty visited the group's booth on their wedding anniversary and sought marital advice.

Myers said the important things are the three Ls: lust, laughter and loyalty.

"I'm super glad we got to talk to you guys and have this good, free advice," Ann Flaherty said.

Kneeland said the Old Fellas definitely have been a hit and are becoming famous.

"People commented that they were the most fun part of the market and they didn't even make any money," she said. "I went down to see if they needed anything and they laughingly said, 'Can you move over a little bit; you're blocking our customers.' They all said they had a lot of fun talking to everyone."

Kneeland said the inaugural market June 2 was beyond the committee's wildest expectations.

"We had vendors that sold completely out of product in the first hour, and one vendor even had his wife bring more product over to him," she said. "One thing I hope everyone remembers is that the Gahanna Farmers Market is a producer/maker-only market, where everything needs to be grown or made local in Ohio by the person selling at the market."

Make Gahanna Yours, a nonprofit organization, presents the market from 4 to 7 p.m. every Sunday through Sept. 29.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekMarla