Farmers market ready to roll

The Westside is about to get a taste of homegrown goodness.

A farmer’s market will make its debut July 31, at the Hilltop Business Center, 3600 Sullivant Ave., on the corner of Sullivant Avenue and Wilson Road.

The Westside International Farmer’s Market will be a gathering of casual gardeners and area farmers, according to Jim Haller of the Hilltop Business Center.

According to Haller, everyone is invited to participate. The market will sell fruits and vegetables, as well as flowers, herbs and other homegrown goods.

Born and raised on the Westside, Haller believes that the area has potential and wants to do his part to get it back to how it used to be.

Haller says he got the idea for a farmer’s market while traveling. He saw a successful market in Evanston, Ind.

“I thought, ‘You know what? We can do this here on the Westside,’” he said. “I wanted to bring it back to the community.”

Haller says that while the market may start off small, he has big plans for its future.

So far, Haller has four local farmers who have made the commitment to bring their products to the Westside.

He hopes that with good customer turnouts and participation from area gardeners, more farmers will sign on.

“We’ve got to start somewhere,” he said.

He added that with the heavy rains Ohio has experienced, crops have been slower to mature this summer, meaning that some of the earlier markets may not have as wide of a selection as he had hoped for.

“Things are coming up slow,” he said.

Haller, however, has a big building and room for the market to grow. The market will start on the lawn area, but as more vendors begin to attend, it may move inside of the building.

“We’ve got to have room for everyone to park,” he added.

He estimates that he has room for 23-25 vendors.

Haller wants to bring the diversity of the Westside into his market, as well. He hopes that the market will attract vendors selling a wide variety of international foods.

“From an international standpoint, the Westside has large populations of somalians and people with Spanish and African American backgrounds. It’s an opportunity for everyone to bring foods native to their country,” said Haller.

Haller also has plans to serve the low income families on the Westside. He hopes to be able to accept food stamps and WIC coupons in the future, although he does not have that capability at this time.

“I just want to be able to provide some fresh fruits and vegetables to the people in the community,” he said.

While the market is in its beginning stages, there will be no cost to vendors.

According to Haller, different sponsors in the area have made it possible for the market to happen without any charge to vendors, although that may change in the future.

The Westside International Farmer’s Market will take place every Thursday from 3-7 p.m., July 31 – Oct. 16.

Any farmers or gardeners wishing to reserve a place should contact Jim Haller at 275-4484.

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