Farmers markets are all the craze right now, with the farm-to-table movement and local and sustainable food options being top of mind for people when they’re cooking or preparing food. A farmers market is defined as a food market at which local farmers sell fruit and vegetables and often meat, cheese, and bakery products directly to consumers. In Westerville, it’s so much more than that.
Beginning in 2018, Uptown Westerville Inc. started the Westerville Farmers Market on the campus of Otterbein University. Due to space restrictions put in place when COVID-19 hit, little room to expand, no public restrooms and confusion on whether it was a campus or public event, the Westerville Farmers Market moved to the parking lot behind City Hall in Uptown Westerville. Originally, after moving to the new location, the space was an L-shape due to property owned by the church nearby. In 2021, the City purchased the space from the church to make it into a public parking lot and has been able to expand to provide more space and more vendors to the market, and even has clean, public restrooms available for guests inside the City Hall building.
What is now up to 66 vendors and welcomes 3,000+ guests on any given week, the Westerville Farmers Market is truly one of the best in the city, if we do say so ourselves. From 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. every Saturday morning May through September, visitors can stroll the market to find some of the best, local produce, meats and goods to take home and enjoy. Here is your guide to the Westerville Saturday Farmers Market.
Ever watched the show Ugly Delicious on Netflix where David Chang, James Beard award-winning chef, leads friends on a mouthwatering, cross-cultural hunt for the world's most satisfying grub? If you have, you may see a familiar face at the Westerville Farmers Market – Jelani Wellington. Jelani is a trained chef, owner of The Mide Pit and is a Westerville South High School alum. He worked at JuneBaby in Seattle and was part of the culinary team that won the James Beard Foundations Best New Restaurant in 2018 which was subsequently featured on an episode in season 1 of Ugly Delicious. Jelani and team go to the Westerville Farmers Market to buy local meats and produce to make dishes that they sell at the market at their booth, The Mide Pit.
International- and Women-owned Vendors
The Westerville Farmer’s Market offers a wide variety of international vendors, and many of them are female-owned. Some to make note of include:
Bibi's Patties offers exceptional Haitian Patties (paté) bringing the taste of Lakay to Westerville. Owner Jocelyn has the puff pastries available in beef, chicken, fish and veggie flavors to enjoy at the market or take home to heat up for later.
Old Man Ciacchi's Italian Bakery uses multi-generational family recipes to make traditional, authentic Italian cookies that are to-die-for. Founder and head baker, Stephen Ciacchi, is fulfilling his passion by bringing central Ohio his Italian culture through his love of baking.
Tulip Cafe makes authentic Turkish recipes right at the market and has been at the market since the beginning. Some favorites from the shop include spinach and cheese bread and Nutella cookies. Hatice runs the market and her son owns Espresso Air, a boutique coffee shop Uptown that sells her pastries to enjoy any day.
Moreland Fruit Farm is one of the newest vendors to the market. While not International, it’s unique enough to draw great reviews from all who visit them. Based out of Wooster, OH, the farm offers strawberries in the early summer followed by blueberries, black raspberries, blackberries and grapes. Find apples and pumpkins in the fall.
Of course, the market wouldn’t be what it is today without the vendors that have been there from the start. Make sure to stop by and meet the owners of these long-standing vendors at the farmers market each week.
Erin and Dustin use agricultural knowledge and sustainable practices learned from past generations to grow quality products for your family. They have a goal of creating a sustainable grass-fed and finished herd on their 68-acre farm near Lexington, Ohio.
Lauri Jones is a food blogger working on her own line of spices, which includes jarred relishes and sauces. She works along with small artisan farmers and manufactures to highlight their products at the market.
Nelson is a boutique pork and grain-fed beef producer with a variety of products from pure Berkshire hogs and pastured cattle. They are responsibly and ethically raised in healthy, open environments using eco-friendly and sustainable farming practices.
Based out of Circleville, Rhoads Farm’s highest priority is making sure that they deliver the freshest produce possible.
Offers on demand, made-to-order desserts and savory crepes. Every single bite is packed with flavor and made per customer’s request.
Grows produce organically and emphasizes regenerative practices. Their growers care deeply about the earth and provide the most nutritious and high-quality produce to the community.
Unique Experiences at the Market
On the first Saturday of every month at 8 a.m., join The MAX Challenge for a FREE outdoor workout at the Westerville Farmers Market! Enjoy a 45-minute, full-body workout combining strength and cardio exercises appropriate for all fitness levels. The class will take place in the green space behind First Presbyterian Church, and then stroll the market afterwards!
Enjoy live music every week at the farmers market while you shop. One or two local musicians, and occasionally a band, will be playing to provide entertainment for the morning. They do it just for tips, so make sure you throw a little something their way so they can come back each week. The Westerville Public Library will appear to promote their Summer Reading program to the farmers market to encourage kids of all ages to keep reading over the summer. There are also games, art programs and more activities for kids, offering something for everyone.
The Finest Edge offers professional knife sharpening at the market. Lou is a master sharpener, servicing everything from knives, garden tools, all types of scissors and shears, even surgical tools. Bring your blades and he’ll sharpen them right on site while you browse the market.
Sustainability and Affordability at the Market
The farmers market accepts SNAP benefits and also has sponsors there to provide free reusable market bags while you shop. The free bags are all thanks to the Westerville Cancer Center of Ohio Health, OrthopedicOne, Middlefield Banking Company, Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Concord Counseling, who all also provide resources and education at the farmers market each week. For those that do their own composting, the market also offers the opportunity to bring your compost to dump and get a new bucket for the next week.
Uptown Westerville Inc. hand selects each vendor who applies and ensures that there is a good variety of products at the market each week. There really is something for everyone. Whether you want to spend 30 minutes or spend the whole morning there, you have the option to make it what you want it to be. Come shop for local produce to cook with that weekend, or bring the family, grab a cup of fresh coffee, shop, play games, listen to live music and then get out and explore the rest of Uptown Westerville for brunch. The options are endless, and it all starts at the Westerville Farmers Market.
Post by: Michelle Downar