Fairfield’s farmers market becomes more than just a destination

The city of Fairfield’s 2018 Village Green Farmers Market featured more than 20 vendors every week. Pictured are judges in the salsa contest held earlier this summer. PROVIDED

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The city of Fairfield’s 2018 Village Green Farmers Market featured more than 20 vendors every week. Pictured are judges in the salsa contest held earlier this summer. PROVIDED

‘It’s an experience,” organizer says thanks to new features.

Fairfield farmers market manager Kari Russo said this past spring her goal was to double the size of the annual Village Green Farmers Market in the city.

According to the math, she’s done that.

“I feel like we’ve done a really good job in increasing awareness and increasing the vendor totals,” said the first-year market manager. “You have to have more vendors to make it interesting to people, and you have to have enough (customers) to get and keep the vendors.”

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Not only did the market double in the number of vendors, but it also has evolved, said Fairfield spokeswoman Jenny Dexter of the third-year market.

“What’s happen is the market has become more of an experience this year than a destination,” she said. “It’s had a great year, and there’s been a lot of new additions to the market.”

On average, a couple hundred people week-to-week attended the farmers market, which Russo said has grown from about a dozen vendors to more than 20 vendors that included farmers, bakers, crafters and other vendors, like Johnson Family Farm, Sun Harvest Gardens and Hanover Winery.

New to the market in its waning weeks is Ramblin Roast Coffee, Lemonade and Tea.

“We’re continuing to add as we move forward,” she said.

Today, there will be a free yoga class on Village Green that is open for all ages and abilities.

“It’s just kind of a sampler so you can get a feel for what our fitness classes look like,” Russo said.

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The goal is to have classes featured at the Fairfield Community Arts Center regularly featured next summer. It would be an expansion on what’s been offered over the past 21 weeks. There have been 24 community partners, including Raptors, Inc., Hueston Woods, Butler County MetroParks, Butler County Soil and Water District, and master gardeners with the Butler County Ohio State University Extension Office. There have been 10 musical acts, including a trio from Creekside Middle School.

Russo has also brought in Butler Tech’s culinary arts program with Chef Tyler Simpson and his students, who have been named “the chef-lings” as they have not yet earned the chef title.

The students make recipes from items found at the market and offer free samples to patrons, and they’ll be back for next year’s market.

“They have become very popular,” she said.

Dexter said bringing in the culinary students has been “one of many great ideas that have been implemented this year to make the market more of an experience.”

Russo said the students get to interact with the farmers, “and the farmers get a kick out of it. It’s just been a really positive thing for our guests.”

On Oct. 10, Cincinnati Mountain Dulcimer will be at the market to teach about the instrument commonly used in bluegrass music.

The summer market ends on Oct. 17 and will feature the annual Farm-R-Treat.

The market will continue on Nov. 7 with the annual winter market, which will be inside the Fairfield Community Arts Center. The winter market will expand to the first and third Wednesday of the month and will be 4 to 7 p.m., the same hours as the summer market.

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