Worthington Park

Worthington Park in downtown Logan is the location of the farmers’ market.

LOGAN – After a successful 2021 debut, Hocking County’s only farmers market returns on Saturday, May 14 for its second annual season.

Beginning this month and running through October, the Hocking County Farmers Market will resume monthly at Worthington Park, at 1 S. Market St. in Logan.

According to the Worthington Park historical marker, Logan-founder Thomas Worthington intended the park to be a “public market place,” The Logan Daily News reported last year.

Hocking County Farmers Market organizer and vendor Stacy Sater of Wildcat Hollow Lavender told The Logan Daily News Wednesday that the farmers market is now a state-registered farmers market and anticipates hosting 15–20 vendors next weekend, featuring locally produced items from fresh produce to soaps to home décor.

The point of the Hocking County Farmers Market is to make shopping locally accessible, Sater explained.

“When we met as a group, we all talked about, we’d like to see this become something where a portion of everybody’s weekly shopping can be done in this market,” she said. “We talked about how the world is experiencing supply chain shortages. When you can address that locally, and buy locally and support people in your community and also have your stuff that you need for meals, you kind of alleviate that burden and it’s a cool thing to be able to do.”

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, there are numerous reasons to shop at farmers markets; the first being “access to fresh, locally grown foods;” other reasons include produce harvested at the peak of the growing season, supporting local food systems and local economies.

The Hocking County Farmers Market had an unexpectedly successful first year, Sater said.

“It far exceeded anything that we expected,” she explained. “We went from it starting just as a conversation like ‘Hey, let’s have one day maybe in the Tractor Supply parking lot where we would just all come together and sell some of our farm-related products,’ to it being a full-fledged farmers market downtown.”

Sater said the farmers market had “a huge amount of support” from the city of Logan, local residents as well as Hocking Hills tourists. “We were really surprised at how well it had done.” Sater added that the largest market occurred in late summer, either July or August, with 25 vendors present.

This year, the market will change slightly; rather than hours being from 8 a.m. to noon, it will begin at 9 a.m. Additionally, the market’s new dates are set for the second Saturday of each month, rather than a varying event pattern. The organizers have also set up an email address (hcfarmersmkt@gmail.com).

The market is also looking at setting up a way to accept electronic benefit transfer, a system that allows Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program participants to pay for food; known as food stamps.

Sater said the market would also be looking into the Buckeye Hills Regional Council’s Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program, which supplies income-eligible seniors with $50 to buy produce from “authorized, participating farmers who sell at farmers markets or roadside stands, May through October.”

“We want to make sure the farmers market is accessible for everyone,” Sater said. “No matter what your socioeconomic status is.”

The market is also looking into a token system, where, in lieu of an ATM, people with credit cards may purchase farmers market tokens for transactions with cash-only vendors.

Sater added that a goal of the market this summer is to provide at least one cooking demonstration using vendor ingredients as another way to inform, entertain the public, and promote local business.

The farmers market is an all-volunteer effort, Sater said. Many vendors have other jobs, some even full-time. “We’re kind of managing it as a group,” she said. The market currently does not charge a set-up fee.

“It’s been great on several different levels,” Sater said of the market’s first year. “It was amazing to me, the number of people that we have in our community that can contribute to something like this; they have a product to offer or they’ve got ideas or (they’re) just offering to help.”

Sater said the market has opened her eyes to the variety of business in her community, as well as how great it was to see downtown Logan busy on Saturday mornings.

“There were a lot of people just out and walking around downtown, which was great. The local businesses, I think, saw some revenue from that, as well as some great foot traffic, which is the intent,” she said.

The Hocking County Farmers Market will take place the second Saturday of each month; from 9 a.m. to noon. Dates for the year are May 14, June 11, July 9, August 13, Sept. 10 and Oct. 8. It can be found online at www.facebook.com/groups/536840570635382/. The market can be reached via email at hcfarmersmkt@gmail.com.

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