Fresh, local food found every week in downtown Kent

Breanna Horn

Each Saturday morning, downtown Kent is home to Haymaker Farmers’ Market, a community that thrives on healthy, homegrown eats and friendly faces.  

Andrew Rome, the market’s manager, said most of the students he’s seen at the market are driven to locally sourced foods after a few Netflix documentaries.

“Students are at such a unique time in their lives right now,” he said. “They have incredible freedom for the interests they want to pursue. There are a lot of pressures to be career focused. To put taking care of themselves on an equal plane with career goals is something that they are also learning to do.” 

Having access to fresh produce is an important part of a student’s diet, Kent State dieticians said. They recommend finding a balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables, alongside proteins, healthy fats and carbohydrates. With over 40 vendors setting up shop every week, it’s easy to find.

The community includes local artists; live, local musicians; high quality vendors; and support groups such as the Campus Kitchen Project, Woven in Exile and the Socially Responsible Sweatshop.

“I came for groceries, but I think I left with a new friend,” said Madison Jones, a junior fashion merchandising major.

Being the oldest farmers’ market in Portage County, Haymaker Farmers’ Market prides itself on being producers-only. Each vendor personally grows, bakes or creates every item found at their stalls. 

A new addition to the market for Summer 2018 is Mud Run Farm. This producer brings locally milled grains like oats, flours and whole-grain cereals. Nearly 90 percent of all farming at Mud Run Farm is done with horse and plow.

“Producers-only market are so important,” said Alex Dragovich, the owner of Mud Run Farm. “I think people want to know who (the farmer) is and how he grew it.”

The Haymaker Farmers’ Market is held every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Franklin Avenue between Main and Summit streets under the Haymaker overpass. 

“What we have here in Kent is really something special,” Rome said. “The work that goes into bringing such quality food to market brings hundreds and hundreds of customers back each week.”

Breanna Horn is the health and wellness reporter. Contact her at [email protected].