Prairie Township man opening farmer's market
Farmer’s markets are a source of alternative shopping for many residents, with consumers liking the idea of supporting local growers and enjoying fresher products than those found in large chain grocery stores.
“With a farmer’s market, one of the biggest advantages is the experience. You are interacting with the individuals who produced the crop,” said Columbus resident Morgan Howard.
The Prairie Township Farmer’s Market will soon be added to the list of organic sellers.
“I think the market for organic is growing more and more,” Harley Yerkes said.
Yerkes, an organic grower, had wanted to establish a local farmer’s market since 2007, when he first approached the township with the idea.
Township Administrator Tracy Hatmaker said he cannot remember the last time Prairie Township had a farmer’s market.
Around February, Hatmaker introduced Yerkes to Joe Cruz, manager of Home Depot – who was interested in giving Yerkes space for the farmer’s market in the parking lot of the store.
According to Yerkes, residents benefit from the fresher products in farmer’s markets because they are purchasing food within 24 hours of being plucked from the garden or farm.
“Plants start to lose their moisture content from the point you pull it from the ground…from losing its root network,” Yerkes said.
Yerkes added, in large chains it takes four to six days from the time crops are harvested to end up on store shelves – having formerly worked in the industry.
“Believe me, only the best makes it to the shelf,” Yerkes said.
“This food isn't being polished up to be displayed on the floor - it is being sold from the soil,” Howard said. “You will find dirty roots on green onions because that’s where it came from. Also, you cannot beat the taste of a homegrown tomato - you just can’t.”
The Prairie Township Farmer’s Market opens July 2 and will be held every Saturday throughout the summer, at Home Depot, 100 S. Grener Ave.
While still recruiting vendors, Yerkes aims for the market to feature 18 vendors, with products ranging everywhere from veggies, to fruits and nuts, and herbs.
For information on the market or vendor applications contact Yerkes at (614) 853-0278