Halloween has come and gone, the holiday season is quickly approaching and the Worthington Farmers Market will remain outside through it all.
The Worthington Farmers Market , located on the corner of High Street and East New England Avenue, kicked off a new season in time for the holidays Saturday, boasting over 70 farmers and food producers, including local businesses such as North Country Charcuterie and Sweet Liberty Candy Company . The venue is the largest year-round market in central Ohio, averaging 4,000 to 6,500 people every Saturday, Christine Hawks, the market manager, said.
“Our mission is to promote and grow the local food industry by connecting local growers and artisan food producers to their surrounding community,” Hawks said. “It gives people a family-friendly experience every single Saturday, and there is always something new and different to experience.”
Worthington Farmers Market is hosted by the Worthington Partnership , a nonprofit that aims to provide opportunities for small businesses to grow, Hawks said.
“I think what we have definitely learned through this pandemic is that this is a community affair,” Hawks said. “It really is an interconnected experience.”
Jacqueline Bell, owner of Sweet Liberty Candy Company, is a first-time vendor at the market and said she sells nine different kinds of nut brittle out of her home.
“As a first-time vendor, I am looking to get into the community and to be able to roll this market into the next season,” Bell said. “I want to continue growing the business and get the word out.”
Bell said she started her company Sept. 14 and according to her Facebook page , she makes all her nut brittles in small batches with the best ingredients she can get her hands on.
“For absolutely every piece of brittle that you have, the best goes into it,” Bell said. “The best ingredients, the best nuts, and I can tell you it’s the best thing out there. It is spectacular and it deserves to be here.”
Duncan Forbes, who is responsible for the sales, marketing and business development of family-owned business North Country Charcuterie, said he is returning to the market for the fifth time to offer hand-cured meats made with 95 percent local ingredients.
Forbes said being able to sell their products and interact with customers during the pandemic keeps him connected to the community.
“During the height of the pandemic, it’s nice that we can safely get out to the farmers market and see people, which we couldn’t necessarily do on a regular basis,” Forbes said. “Since we are a local company and we source so many of our ingredients locally, it’s really important to still maintain that presence and visibility in the farmers market.”
Hawks said the market is a great way for vendors to build a consistent base of customers and for people to support local, hard-working companies that are passionate about the products they create and the feedback they receive.
“We are looking to encourage people to bypass a lot of the shortages, shipping delays, backorders, all of that by shopping locally during these holiday markets,” Hawks said. “[It’s about] avoiding the empty shelves, the crowded shopping malls and Amazon experiences to support the local growers and artisan makers here.”
The Worthington Farmers Market kicked off its Holiday Market Saturday and will continue every Saturday until Dec. 18 from 9 a.m. to noon, excluding the weekend following Thanksgiving, Hawks said.