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I started cooking and it changed everything.

Jazz Glastra, Executive Director of the Canal Market District

100% local, farmers-market sourced salad with bacon leftover from the weekend, fresh yellow bell pepper, kale, and an egg over-easy. I swear, this isn't difficult!

100% local, farmers-market sourced salad with bacon leftover from the weekend, fresh yellow bell pepper, kale, and an egg over-easy. I swear, this isn't difficult!

During farmers market season, my husband and I plan our week around getting to the farmers market and buying the best of what the season has to offer. We look forward to walking through the market aisles, taking mental inventory of what each vendor is selling, and maybe buying a sweet treat before making decisions about what we want to bring home for the rest of the week. For us, this ritual is a social outing, a time to unplug from hectic work life, and a grocery trip all in one. And that doesn’t even take into account the free live music. Now that’s efficiency!

We didn’t always spend our time and our grocery budget this way, though. I’ve been interested in local food for many years, but I used to think that shopping almost exclusively at the farmers market just wasn’t practical. I thought it would cost too much, or I wouldn’t be able to find the ingredients that I needed for full meals. I was wrong.

For the first time in history, Americans now spend more money on food at restaurants than on groceries. A couple of years ago my husband and I sat down and really examined how much money we were spending on dining out versus cooking for ourselves and the results shocked us. We didn’t think we were too irresponsible—sure, we were buying lunch, but we didn’t go to fancy restaurants or run up big tabs at bars. Even still, the numbers were clear and we needed to make a change. We made a commitment to start planning our meals at the beginning of each week and cooking much more regularly. As a longtime supporter of local eating, I also wanted to start shopping as much as we could at farmers markets.

Summer's first strawberries. No recipe required.

Summer's first strawberries. No recipe required.

Here’s what happened: our overall food expenditures went way, way down. We both lost more than 20 pounds. Our cooking skills increased exponentially. We only actually have to buy things at the grocery store once every two weeks or so. Our stress levels decreased because we no longer wasted time trying to figure out what to eat for dinner. We learned the cycles of eating seasonally and now look forward to the first strawberry, the first tomato, and the first pumpkin of the year.

Perhaps most exciting, we started enjoying our food so much more. For one, the quality of what we could get local, super-fresh, and in season at the market was on a whole different level from the typical grocery store produce. And since we started developing relationships with farmers at the market, we also just appreciated the care and hard work that goes into it our food a heck of a lot more.

As an added bonus, a lot more of our money now goes to support local businesses. According to the New Economic Foundation, farmers market purchases generate twice the local economic impact as buying the same products from a grocery store.

These days, I get to help run a twice-weekly farmers market here in downtown Newark at the Canal Market District. If you haven’t made it down to our farmers markets on Tuesday and Friday evenings yet, my challenge to you is to put $30 in your pocket and make a point of coming down next week. You might be surprised at what you can find. From meat and eggs to fresh produce and even some pantry staples like oats—we’ve got the groceries. For the community of growers who rely on this market, your support really matters. Once you make a habit of it, you might be surprised by what else can happen when you shop, cook, and eat with the seasons.  

MAKING THE MARKET: JACQUELINE OF JC'S SWEET ICE TEA

CMD intern Ashton Millet caught up with JC for a few minutes as she was setting up for a busy market. Read his interview below.

Our vendor spotlight for this month is Jacquelyn Chapman of JC’s Sweet Ice Tea. Ms. JC is originally from Greenville, SC but now lives in Pataskala, OH. She is a self proclaimed “Licking County girl” now. Ms. JC’s purpose of selling her sweet tea and lemonades is to share a slice of southern hospitality in Ohio. She prides herself on selling what she calls the only real sweet tea in the area. One of the first things the Jacquelyn mentions when you come up to her stand is that every product taste different from each other and that each product has its own unique taste.

JC’s Sweet Ice Tea has been in business since 2011. The idea to launch JC’s sweet tea started one summer day in South Carolina. It all started with Ms. JC and her husband sitting down with family drinking sweet tea on the porch after dinner. The entrepreneurial spirit of Ms. JC started to go to work as she was drinking her sweet tea. She told her family, “lets sell this to the world.” Her family had doubted the plan so as soon as she got back to Ohio she started to lay the foundation for JC’s Sweet Ice Tea.

She started off selling her sweet tea in a farmers’ market in an alley in Columbus. At the time her and her husband would sell their sweet tea by the cup out of a bucket. Eventually she got the advice to begin to bottle her Sweet tea and Lemonade. From there JC’s Sweet Ice Tea began to grow. Jacquelyn said that, “once people have one bottle of my sweet ice tea they need to have more.” Now JC’s Sweet Ice Tea is in farmers’ markets, stores, whole foods, and restaurants all over central Ohio. The small business still continues to grow. Jacquelyn mentioned that she hopes to take the product “nationwide.” She is in talks with potential customers in various areas in the south from South Carolina to Louisiana along with others throughout Ohio.

I asked Ms. JC if she had any advice for those who may want to start their own small business. She said, “It’s a lot of work, so be careful what you wish for.” This wasn’t intended to scare off potential small business owners but it was intended to tell people to make sure that they know that being a small business owner is hard work. She knows that the behind the scenes work that goes into being a vendor is a large commitment. The Canal Market District Farmers’ market has helped much of that hard work pay off though. When talking about the Canal Market District Farmers’ market Ms. JC said that it has “allowed her to expand the knowledge of her brand.” Jacquelyn said that this farmers’ market has “really helped her customer base grow.”

JC’s Sweet Ice Tea isn’t the only thing that Jacquelyn is up to. When she isn’t at the Canal Market District Farmers’ market or working on her products she is also very active with her church. She sings in the choir and when she isn’t doing that she is also fulfilling her duties as a deaconess at her church. She also enjoys traveling whether it's going to Columbus with her family or driving across the country to California. She says she likes to do most of her work during the summer and then to travel during the winter. When it is time to wind down she usually watches movies with her husband.

To end the interview with JC’s Sweet Ice Tea I asked Jacquelyn what she was the most proud of. She said that she is the most proud of her energy and how the customers love her product. You can see how true this is if you watch Jacquelyn go to work at the farmers’ market. She talks to nearly every customer that walks by and when they try her products the smile on their faces can be seen a mile away. When talking to Ms. JC you really see that she has a lot of pride and passion for her product. Jacquelyn said that there are two things we should know, one is where you were born and the other is why you were born. She believes that she was born to bring her family’s sweet ice tea to as many people as possible.

MAKING THE MARKET: BRETT OF BSTONE SQUARED

Meet Brett of BStone Squared

 
 

How long have you been selling what you make? Been in business for 3 years.

How did you get started? The first thing I made was a set of cornhole boards about 12 years ago. We had a cheap set that broke & had a family reunion we were hosting & wanted to have those to play.

I tore into the project thinking, I'll fix these but found they were poorly made & I could make a much better set if I gave it some effort.

I remember my Grandpa Cliff paying me big compliments at the reunion & was surprised I had made the boards. He asked a bunch of questions & looking back now, he knew then I was going to be "making things"! Since then I’ve been following in my grandpas footsteps , experimenting with wood working and finding joy in making nearly anything.

It took me years to mature & have that desire to learn more. Woodworking takes a great deal of patience & I have "grown into" it!

Although I never worked hand in hand with my grandpa, I can feel him there when I dig into a project. The hobby became a passion & I thought I'd test the waters with a business. I started with local farmers markets & the reception has been great. It's taken me to places as far as New York City already in the past couple years. 

My grandpa made a ton of custom furniture in his day & I find myself looking over the pieces in my parents house now & strive to one day be as talented as he was. I even have a wood hand planer that was my grandpas that I keep in my shop.

What’s something about your work that people might not know just by looking? Each piece is somehow "finished" by my daughter who is 4 and loves to be included. Kaylee loves to help give finishing touches and help daddy.

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You can find Brett at our June 3rd, August 5th, and October 1st Art and Craft Markets. Find him on Facebook @bstonesquared or online at www.bstone2.com

CANAL MARKET DISTRICT BEGINS A NEW SEASON

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jazz Glastra
Tel. (740) 527-0420
Email: jazz@canalmarketdistrict.org
Date: 4/20/2017                                                         

CANAL MARKET DISTRICT BEGINS A NEW SEASON

Opening Day is May 5th

 NEWARK, Ohio, April 20, 2017—The Canal Market District (CMD) in downtown Newark is busily preparing to reopen for the 2017 market season. The farmers market reopens at 4 pm on Friday, May 5th, while the art and craft market reopens on Saturday, May 13th at 10 am. This will be the Canal Market District’s second season, and organizers are hoping to build on 2016’s success to continue making the District a destination for both locals and visitors to shop, eat, and listen to live music.

This year’s farmers market features a majority of returning farmers, bakers, and other food artisans from around the Central Ohio region. CMD is also adding a number of new businesses and products to the mix, including lima beans, locally made granola, and pancake mix.

Returning vendor Pam Roberts of Together We Grow Community Gardens is “very excited to be a vendor again at the Canal Market District Farmers Market!”

“We had such a great experience in the inaugural year and know this year is going to be even better,” she continued. We sell all types of delicious, chemical-free veggies, from arugula to zucchini. We're looking forward to seeing all of our previous customers and meeting lots of new ones!"

Live music on opening day will be provided by local musicians including Rich Folk and John Sayer. Licking County Soil and Water will be there to provide information to the public, as will the Midland Theater. Food trucks will also be onsite for those looking to grab a meal at the market.

The Canal Farmers Market is held Tuesdays and Fridays from 4 pm to 7 pm. Tuesday markets run May 9th through the end of September, while Friday markets begin May 5th and continue until the end of October.

The Canal Farmers Market is inclusive for everyone, and accepts both WIC Farmers Market Nutrition coupons and SNAP (food stamps) benefits. These programs allow low income shoppers to use their benefits in lieu of cash to purchase fresh food from the farmers market. SNAP users can also get up to $10 extra to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables each market day. “Making this market accessible to everyone is at the core of what we want this farmers market to be,” said CMD Executive Director Jazz Glastra. “We’ve done this from the very beginning, and it’s part of the reason why the community has embraced this new market so well.”

The Canal Art and Craft Market takes place monthly from May through October. The season opens on May 13th, the day before Mother’s Day, from 10 am to 3 pm. It will feature over 30 local crafters and artists. Products will include photography, glass art, homemade soaps and beauty products, jewelry, quilts, and more. Most of the products at the art and craft market are made in Licking County, and all are handmade and sold directly by the artist.

“I think the Canal Art and Craft Market is great because I love to see the people who buy my pieces in person,” said jewelry-maker Melissa Winters of PurpleArtLove.  “It makes the experience much more special.  It is the best way to see what the customer really loves.”

The Canal Market District consists of three covered market pavilions that provide a permanent home for markets and other community events. It is located at 36 E Canal St in Newark. More information about the Canal Market District and both the farmers market and the art and craft market can be found on CMD’s website at CanalMarketDistrict.org.

ABOUT THE CANAL MARKET DISTRICT

The Canal Market District is a permanent market facility located at 36 E Canal St in Newark, Ohio. This facility was constructed through the generosity of the Thomas J. Evans Foundation of Newark and is managed in partnership with the City of Newark, Licking County, and the Canal Market District—a private nonprofit organization. The organization is committed to improving community access to healthy, local food and promoting economic development rooted in Licking County’s history, culture, and local bounty. The Canal Market District is located at 36 E Canal St in Newark, Ohio. To learn more about the Canal Market District visit our website at www.canalmarketdistrict.org.

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Making the Market: Pam of Together We Grow Gardens

 In our new series, "Making the Market," we will be introducing you to some of the crafters, farmers, musicians, and artisans who attend our markets. We hope you enjoy learning more about the "makers" in our community!

Pam and Mike Roberts, founders of Together We Grow Gardens

Pam and Mike Roberts, founders of Together We Grow Gardens

How did Together We Grow Gardens get started? Together We Grow Gardens is a non-profit business which began in 2011 as one small community garden.  We started as a way to provide garden plots for people in our community who often are in need of food, may not have transportation and don't have a lot of fresh food options close to home. 

I left my job as Associate Director at Mental Health America when I realized that this business was growing so quickly that I needed to do it full-time.  It's been two years since I have received a paycheck, but it has been two of my happiest years! 

Spring break clean-up crew. 

Spring break clean-up crew. 

You've grown a lot over the years. What are you up to now? Today, we have 4 community gardens, 3 school gardens, and are opening up our brand new solar-powered greenhouse on Friday, April 28th at 10:00, at Heritage Middle School, 600 Arlington Avenue, Newark.  This greenhouse will be home to three separate programs: Victory Gardens for Veterans (Thursdays from 1-3 pm), Power of Plants Educational Program for at-risk middle and high school students (Wednesdays from 9:30 -11:30 am), and Here We Grow Gardens for adults with developmental disabilities (Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays).

What is it about farming that made you decide to start Together We Grow GardensMy husband and I have always loved to garden.  Not only do you get delicious healthy food, but it's also SO relaxing and fulfilling!

What growing practices do you use at the gardens? Together We Grow Gardens is not certified organic, but we take a lot of pride in never using chemicals to grow our produce.  We do just about everything with volunteers or individuals who are in need of community service.  Lots of great relationships have been established with the community service folks.  Mentoring and showing someone another way of life is one of the most rewarding parts of this program! 

Tell us something unique and fun about your products. One of our newest ventures is making and selling OH MY GOSH BOKASH!  Bokashi is a Japanese word that means "fermented organic matter".  Like composting, it breaks down organic waste into a rich soil amendment, but Bokashi takes around one month to break down into microbe-rich humus, rather than the typical 6-9 months that it takes a traditional compost heap to break down.  We would like to see everyone making their own Bokashi in order to 1) redirect food out of landfills, 2) reduce greenhouse emissions, and 3) restore life to the earth's soil!

We will be selling OH MY GOSH BOKASH! starter kits, inoculant, potting soil, microbe serum, red wiggler worm bins, worm kits, and worm castings...all at the Canal Market District Farmer's Market.

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What's your favorite thing to grow? Personally, my favorite thing is potatoes.  Not only do you have a pretty plant to look at all season, but it's like digging for GOLD when you dig out the potatoes! This year, we are going to grow Yukon Gold, All Reds and Purple potatoes.  Should be fun! Two other fun crops we are growing this year are yard-long green beans and purple green beans.  I can't wait to see them and eat them!

 

 

 

Making the Market: Kaitlin of Elemental Creations by Kat

In our new series, "Making the Market," we will be introducing you to some of the crafters, farmers, musicians, and artisans who attend our markets. We hope you enjoy learning more about the "makers" in our community!

Meet Kaitlin Ferensen of Elemental Creations by Kat

 
 

How long have you been in business? I've been to jewelry making and metalsmithing the past 2 years and started my business and vending in the past year. 

How did you get started with this work? I've been drawing and painting from a young age and fell in love with metalsmithing in high school. I love learning new ways of creating and have recently taken up wood burning and leather work.

Tell me about something you've made recently. My favorite things I've made recently are pieces of jewelry using organic casted pieces. I found an amazing jewelry caster that offers sterling silver cast twigs, leaves, mushrooms, pine cones, etc. I love the natural and organic look they add to my pieces as I am very moved and inspired by nature.

What's a fun fact about you? I'm a free spirited Aquarius who loves to dance!

Kaitlin will be at all of our craft markets this year, starting May 13th. You can see more of her work on her Facebook page. 

 

Making the Market: Carol of Phoenix Rising

In our new series, "Making the Market," we will be introducing you to some of the crafters, farmers, musicians, and artisans who attend our markets. We hope you enjoy learning more about the "makers" in our community!

Meet Carol Bridwell of Phoenix Rising

How long have you been in business? I have been in business one year making woven rugs and furniture from salvaged wood. My daughter, Alicia Snider, works with me adding artwork to my wooden creations.

How did you get started? I have been interested in various fiber and textile mediums most of my life. My grandmother taught me to crochet at the age of 6 using crochet thread to make doilies and laces. I had a fascination for the construction of materials using mere string.  I got my first floor loom 30 years ago and taught myself the techniques for creating beautiful and useful pieces with string and scraps. For many years this was a hobby for me making rugs for our home and those of family and friends.

I more recently became interested in what I could create with wood materials that have been tossed. This led me to making furniture and home accessories out of pallets and salvaged wood.

 

What is your favorite thing you have made recently and why? My favorite thing that I have recently made is a woven rug. I was asked to make a rug for a kitchen with apple green cabinets and room accents in turquoise and red. At first this seems like an unusual and hard to balance color combination. I was able to put to together just the right mix and it is awesome.

Tell us a fun fact about your products. An endless array of patterns and outcomes can be achieved using the most unusual collections of materials. Finding the gem that is hidden in these materials and being open to what you might find is a source of endless pleasure to me.

Carol will be attending our Art and Craft markets on May 13th, June 3rd, July 22nd, September 9th, and October 1st from 10 am to 3 pm. Stop by to meet her and see more of her awesome work! You can see more on her Facebook page.