Haymaker Farmers Market offers organic produce every Saturday

KRISTEN SALEM

Drew Parker

Students and community members looking for something fun to do on Saturday morning need only walk downtown to West Summit Street and Franklin Avenue.

The Haymaker Farmers Market, which began its 19th season May 28, showcases fresh produce and baked goods from local farmers and food vendors.

Here, a warm sense of community can be felt as the people of Kent stroll past the stalls of market vendors lined up behind the Pufferbelly Ltd. Some patrons hold bags of fresh produce and hand-mixed lemonade, while others lead friendly dogs and happy children through the crowd.

Housing over 45 local vendors, the market offers the Kent community an eclectic mix of food and local vibrancy.

Last season marked the start of Music at the Market, which allows local musicians to share their music with market-goers each week. Most of the musicians perform vocal or instrumental folk pieces.

Although it began as a farm and produce based event in its early years, the market expanded to offer breads, fresh pasta, a variety of goat cheeses, hand-made soaps, artwork and cookies in addition to the traditional fresh produce like apples and fresh greens.

Bonny Graham, owner of Bonny’s Bread, was the first non-produce vendor invited to the market 16 years ago. Graham said she believes it is very important for agriculture to thrive in Kent.

“With the last farm in Kent gone, supporting local growers is extremely important for the community,” Graham said.

The market includes four certified organic producers including John Smith Organic Farm and Produce, Bella Terra Farm, Birdsong Farm and Breakneck Acres.

Lacey Smalldon, a sophomore public health major and vendor for Breakneck Acres of Ravenna, said participation in the market helps the business gain popularity in the community.

“Being a vendor at the market is a great way to interact with the community. It will help us find other outlets for our product,” Smalldon said.

Aside from various foods, the market also provides customers with a sense of community and culture in downtown Kent. The market attracts area residents, children, and even pets each weekend.

“I come almost every week for the atmosphere, food, and people,” John Williams of Kent said.

Bonnie and Chris, a husband and wife pair from Kent, come every Saturday morning to buy goat cheese from local vendors.

“We come to see the local population and color,” Bonnie said.

The Haymaker Farmers Market is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., rain or shine and is located behind the Pufferbelly Ltd. on Franklin Avenue and West Summit Street. Music at the Market runs every Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon.

Contact Summer Kent Stater reporter Drew Parker at [email protected].