A Pleasing Variety of Farm-Grown and Homemade
by Georgia Rindler
Homemade and handmade are what shoppers will find at Celina Farmers’ Market.
Tents set up around the courthouse in downtown Celina signal it is that time of the year.
The Celina Farmers’ Market has been complementing the city for over 10 years. It promotes local entrepreneurs and growers, while encouraging communication between buyers and sellers. The market has plants and flowers, baked goods, jams, jellies, local honey, syrup, spices and mixes. One may also find body products, crafts, handmade jewelry and sometimes more.
Vic Schulte has spent over a dozen years repurposing items for her junktique boutique, Once I Was. Attending festivals and markets all over northwest Ohio, this is her first year in Celina. “I love Celina; they have a great set-up,” she says. Her booth features artisan style jewelry.
Ron Turner of Versailles represents Bowman Produce & Greenhouses, LLC. The Bradford, Ohio business has been part of the market since its beginning. The biggest change Turner has noticed is the increased volume and the larger variety of items offered. He and young assistant, Alexis Rhoades leave home at 6:15 a.m. to be ready by 9 a.m. “We have a system. It usually takes 30 to 45 minutes to set up”, he says. Despite the early morning start, Rhoades’ comment on working the market is, “I love it.”
Bowman’s spring offerings include vegetable and flower plants for gardeners, along with some fresh produce. Plants are grown from seed at the 80-acre farm outside of Greenville, Ohio. In May, most of the food comes from southern states, but by the end of the season, 90 to 100 percent of the fruits, vegetables and flowers are home grown on the farm. Bowman Produce participates in farmers’ markets in Sidney, Troy, Greenville, and Piqua, in addition to Celina. “Celina is the busiest and brings in the best revenue,” Turner reports.
Cassie Menchhofer of Cassie’s Country Cupboard sells a variety of mixes; soup, cornbread, and pancake are just a sampling. The business began in 2011 out of necessity. Living far from town means there is no quick trip to the grocery store. She started making her own mixes, discovering how artificial ingredients and unnecessary fillers are added to many convenience foods. The following year, she decided to sell at the market and share what she learned. She enjoys finding solutions to help others. “The best part is meeting new people, learning their dietary needs and how to meet those needs,” says Cassie.
Peg Rotondo of Celina has been at the market for three or four years. In addition to jams and jellies, she has landjaeger, a German hunter sausage. The meat is cured, smoked, and hung to dry. Rotondo provides samples to those who would like to taste before buying.
Shellabar offers organic-certified soaps. The business uses all-natural ingredients with different bases of goat milk, honey, or aloe-vera. Family members were dealing with extreme eczema and the natural soaps helped. This is their seventh year making the soaps and their fifth at the market.
Christine James makes jewelry and crafts for One of a Kind Creations. One of her biggest sellers is a little girl’s bracelet. She has several selections; one has a Celina theme with a fish and lighthouse. Christmas and summer ornaments are also popular at her booth. James and her friend, Bruce, are originally from the New York City area. He comments that “Celina is a nice town with nice people.”
Joni Bensman of G Free Joni is at the market for her second year with gluten-free products.
She has been gluten-free for seven years and is eating to heal. She wants to share her knowledge with anyone struggling with health issues.
The 2017 Celina Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. until noon from May through September. Vendors set up on the sidewalk at the corner of Market and Main streets. The booths head west on Market and north on Main. Spaces are on a first come/first served basis with no assigned spots. Sellers respect others’ areas. All are there with the same goal and mindset.
Street parking is available near the market, and there is a public lot north of the courthouse behind the post office on Fulton Street. The market is open rain or shine, but not all sellers will brave the weather. Buyers are encouraged to come early for best selection.
The history of Celina Farmers’ Market goes back to a group of people getting together and selling their products. At first, it wasn’t an organized, structured event. Some of the sellers had a business started in their garage and were open to the thought of expanding their customer base.
A spokesperson from the Celina-Mercer County Chamber of Commerce office said after a couple of years, the chamber took charge and planned for the seasons. When asked if there have been any unusual vendors, her response, with a chuckle, is “No comment.” She adds, “We have a nice variety of products, ranging from jewelry to foods, produce, and mums.”
The setting offers a place for the community to gather and exchange products and objectives. The market does not compete with local businesses or take would-be buyers from stores. It can have quite the opposite effect. After visiting the market, shoppers may take in the specialty shops, cafes, and restaurants located downtown.
2016 was the market’s biggest year with over 20 vendors. The 2017 season began with 17 vendors and is expected to surpass last year’s numbers. The cost to participate is $35 for the entire season. The market is endorsed by the Celina-Mercer County Chamber of Commerce.
The market does not accept non-profit fundraising or information booths. Application and rules for vendors can be found online.
Celina Farmers’ Market
101 N. Main Street
Celina, OH 45822