The fresh fruit is covered in a thin layer of dirt. Brushing it off, the rich colors of real fruits and vegetables come to the surface. Scents of sweet ripe peaches hang in what’s left of the hot summer air while cool breezes usher in the earthier scent of the gourds and apples. The men and women working behind the counters are in t-shirts and jeans; they will get dirty working at a farmers market.
Farmers’ markets are working their way back into popularity with the food trends focusing on fresh and in season foods. The Mid-Ohio Valley is lucky to have several of these gems tucked away in various corners, and dotting roadsides with brightly striped stands. They are making this community more vibrant, and healthier too.
Recently, I spent a few hours in the afternoon visiting our various markets; and even with several hours, I didn’t make it to all of them. This tour makes a great afternoon, and with your haul, you’ll certainly be able to prepare a deliciously fresh dinner for the evening.
Huck’s Farm Market
Huck’s Farm Market is located on Muskingum Drive in Marietta. One of the best things about this market is that it can easily double as a great place for a lunch date. In the back of the store, they serve made to order sandwiches that are exceptionally tasty. The deli has a great selection of meats and cheeses as well as several bread options. Lunch can be topped off with a variety of homemade sweet treats available in the bakery. Pies, cookies, and bulk items are available to take home or enjoy there.
The market also has a small home décor and gift shop section that changes seasonally. All reasonably priced, the items are sourced from various small businesses and other places.
The crowing jewel of Huck’s during the fall is their fabulous flower and outdoor section. Unfortunately, I visited too early in the year and the mums weren’t out yet, but it’s a sight to behold. Fall colors line the tables with corn stalks poking out intermittently. Additionally, the outdoor selection here is always healthy looking and contains some of the most vibrant colors available.
Hensler’s Town & Country Market
This market has a little of bit of something for everyone. Walking in, visitors are greeted by the fresh smells of whatever produce is outside. For me, it was sweet peaches, and it smelled delectable. The initial part of the store has a nice sized produce section that features fresh and local produce. Another interesting aspect about farmers’ market produce is the size of it. It’s really remarkable to compare store-bought vegetables to those grown in someone’s garden.
The back of the store features some bulk goods as well as some great cider options. The deli/restaurant in the back has wonderful hot and cold options making it a local favorite for lunchtime.
The outside of the store is just as impressive as the inside. It boasts a large section of beautiful flowers and outdoor décor. During the summer, it’s filled with gorgeous hanging baskets over every color imaginable and in the fall, they are replaced with more lovely seasonal flowers.
Ward’s Farm Market
Located in Parkersburg, Ward’s Farm Market doesn’t look like much – but don’t let the outside fool you. Ever since I was little, I remember going to Ward’s to pick out my pumpkin to carve for Halloween. Just stepping on to the property, the smell of the fresh vegetables and fall gourds can make anyone ready to start their fall decorating.
Ward’s also has small, but well stocked Amish meats and cheese section as well as an area dedicated to home canned jellies, jams and more. The interior of the store is loaded with fresh vegetables and fruits from all over the area. They have the best tomatoes around, and they are great for anyone who likes to make their own pasta sauce.
This market always has a great selection of outdoor decorating as well. They have several types of gourds and some of the best and biggest pumpkins around. Plus, the cost is always great considering the size of the produce.