West Chester winter farmers market open for business

The West Chester Farmers and Artsian Home Producers Market offers only home grown, home produced foods, crafts, jewelry and other items and is now open for the winter months at the Muhlhauser Barn.

The winter market is open from now until March and is held the first and third Saturdays from 2 to 4 p.m. Market co-manager Reuben Schwartz said they had about 200 people walk through on opening day Nov. 18.

“The West Chester farmers market is what we call a producers only market,” Schwartz said. “So it’s not only farmers, it’s also home producers and crafters, but everything that’s sold there is grown or made by the people selling it.”

RELATED: Farmers markets benefit the local economy

Schwartz said they have a little bit of everything from free range meat and poultry, honey, two jewelers, coffee, a ravioli guy, a gourmet popcorn vendor and much more. As for produce, he said they have a couple farmers who have “hoop houses” or basically a greenhouse they heat so they can grow things year-round.

Steve Willis, who co-manages the market and is in charge of the farmers, said fruit is pretty much non-existent during the winter market but they’ll have winter squashes like pumpkins and butternut squash, root crops like carrots and beets and a lot of greens. He said produce gets a little “sparse” in February and March but there is plenty more at the market.

The pair have been managing the market for the township for four years and Willis said he believes people deserve home grown goods.

MORE: West Chester approves new operators for the farmers market

“People want to buy local produce,” he said. “People can go to Kroger or Meijer, whatever and buy wholesale produce all day long that gets trucked in from California and Mexico or Central America. By giving the customer a choice of what’s available locally and what’s in season they get a better product, they get the flavor and they get the nutrient dense food.”

The summer farmers market starts in mid-May and runs through October. The market is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Center Pointe Drive near the MidPointe library. The market moves out of the barn in April and has limited hours at the library site, according to township spokeswoman Barb Wilson.

Schwartz said they also like to bring some form of entertainment — kite flying, a pet adoptions, crafts and more — in for both summer and winter.

“We really have a little bit of everything,” he said. “We have music at every market, we have special events in the summer time…,” he said. “We try to make it a destination, so it’s someplace families can go on a Saturday that is safe, family friendly, where the kids can have some fun and the parents can get some fresh foods.”

About the Author