Reynoldsburg Farmers Market season opens, with caution

KELLEY YOUMAN
editorial@thisweeknews.com
Jason Wish, owner of Wishwell Farms, helps Andrea Tippery of Reynoldsburg browse produce June 4 during the first Reynoldsburg Farmers Market of the season at John F. Kennedy Park, 7232 E. Main St. The farmers market will run 4 to 7 p.m. Thursdays through Sept. 4.

Neither rain nor social distancing could stop the 13th annual Reynoldsburg Farmers Market from opening June 4 at a new location.

Scheduled for Thursdays through Sept. 4, the market operates 4 to 7 p.m. at John F. Kennedy Park, 7232 E. Main St.

The first half hour is reserved for elderly shoppers or those vulnerable to the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Market capacity will be limited to 184 patrons, and seating and entertainment have been curbed. Gov. Mike DeWine designated Ohio's farmers markets an essential service.

Sales will be limited to whole, uncut produce and prepackaged food, said Jennifer Clemens, communications and special-events coordinator.

"We want everyone to have the opportunity to shop. We promise to be social and to encourage extra-long lingering when this is all over," Clemens said.

Although the pandemic forced the market to make several changes, its new location was due to construction on Davidson Drive, not the virus.

The new location made the trip more convenient for Joyce Neargarder and her partner, Glen Copeland, who purchased a ripe tomato for the couple's dinner of tacos.

"It's even closer for us this time. We live right in Briarcliff so we just have to cross the street and we're in the park," Copeland said, bag of freshly popped kettle corn in hand. "I like the variety at the farmers market."

More than a dozen vendors – separated by 6 feet – sold an array of items, from bread and meat to produce and relish.

Lockbourne-based Nova Terra Farms returned to the market for the fifth year, selling baked goods and produce out of a black hearse.

"My wife is goth so it fits our personalities. I've never been a pickup-truck kinda guy, so that's why we use this instead," said David Herron, Nova Terra owner. "We bake pies, and we also sell vegetables. We have fresh eggs, and we grow sweet corn, green beans, tomatoes and peppers."

Herron said Nova Terra Farms also participates in the Dublin and Gahanna farmers markets.

"The people of Reynoldsburg have been good to us. It's a really well-organized market, which makes a big difference," he said.

Wishwell Farms, Olde Village Meats, Ohio City Pasta, Great Harvest Bread, Sue's Herbs and Relishes, Paige's Produce, Golden Harvest, Frostop, Midway Concessions and the Tiny Baker are other returning vendors this season, Clemens said.

"Vendors and city staff will be required to wear masks. Vendors are required to have hand sanitizer at their stand, and we are asking them to sanitize their stands regularly and discontinue the use of tablecloths and other porous material, such as baskets," Clemens said. "We are asking families to limit the number of shoppers they are bringing to the market. We are encouraging them to prioritize essential shopping over socially gathering. We are also asking shoppers to keep their four-legged friends at home this year to minimize traffic at the market."

No samples were available, per the order of Franklin County Public Health, she said.

The Schmidt's food truck will be on site throughout the season.

Most vendors accept credit cards, and the market is a partner with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, so recipients can use their benefits.

Nearly 4,000 people visited the farmers market last season, Clemens said.

For more information on the market, go to facebook.com/reynoldsburgfarmersmarket.

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