Westgate ready for Farmer’s Market


By Christine Bryant
Staff Writer

The Westgate community will kick off the first season of its farmers market June 4, with vendors showcasing their best produce, baked goods and crafts.

The market, which will continue through October, will run the first and third Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the lawn of the West Gate Masonic Lodge, 2925 W. Broad St.
With several markets in the Columbus metro area already, the westside had lacked a farmers market until residents Ruth Thurgood Mundy and Juliette Lonsert set out to change that through a grassroots effort.

“The westside has long been a bit of a food desert,” Mundy said. “We hope that a farmers market will bring vendors to the neighborhood with the kinds of fresh produce and local foods that our neighbors have been asking for, for quite some time.”

Between 14 and 17 vendors are scheduled for each market so far, Lonsert said, with a variety of goods available, including produce, meat products, homemade pasta, spice mixes, unique jam flavors, hand-poured soy candles, handcrafted home goods and baked treats that include gluten-free options.

“We are more than excited to bring the farmers market to the westside this summer,” Lonsert said. “We truly want it to be a fun community event that makes fresh, local produce and other unique locally crafted goods readily accessible on our side of town.”

Each market also will feature a different food truck, with appearances by Pitabilities, Porketta, Cheesy Truck, Explorers’ Club, Blu Olive and Phillybuster already on the schedule.

“The Cream and Sugar ice cream cart will also be at most markets selling their amazing coffee ice cream floats, frozen chocolate covered bananas and other items,” Lonsert said.

One of the goals of the market is to improve fresh food access to residents, which is why the market is participating in the Veggie SNAP program. SNAP/EBT users may double their SNAP dollars to spend on fresh produce items, up to $10 each market day, Lonsert said.

“We really hope that this free incentive is utilized and gets fresh produce into more people’s hands,” she said.

Select vendors also will accept WIC Farmers Market Nutrition and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition coupons, she said.

For other forms of payment like credit and debit cards, vendors are free to use their own card readers. If vendors only accept cash, the market will use a token system for credit cards, debit cards and SNAP/EBT cards.

“The shopper will be able to swipe their card and get tokens to spend with the vendors in case they do not want to use cash,” Lonsert said.

The formation of the market has seen a large amount of support from neighbors and businesses in the Hilltop area community, she said. The market also received a small Neighborhood Partnership Grant to get started, courtesy of the United Way, PNC, Community Foundation and city of Columbus.

“It certainly is a bit overwhelming, but we are so thrilled at the positive response from the community and it has been really fun to put together,” Lonsert said. “Our main goal is just to make local goods more readily available to the community and create a fun event for the westside.”

For more information, contact farmersmarketwestgate@gmail.com or visit the market’s Facebook page at facebook.com/westgatefarmersmarket.


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