Every Saturday morning between mid-June and October, the empty gravel lot where the former Arcade building once sat in downtown Wauseon, is transformed by the growing Wauseon Farmer’s Market. A stroll around the market on a recent sunny Saturday morning revealed the pleasant smells of locally grown herbs, a friendly alpaca in its pen, a local church offering free coffee and lemonade to visitors, live music, and community friends exchanging greetings.
Much more than simply vegetables, the Wauseon Farmer’s Market is a collection of local people coming together to share their locally grown and produced goods. Sponsored by the Wauseon Downtown Association, the Farmer’s Market is in its fourth year, and its second year at this location on Saturday mornings. Held from 8:30-1 on Saturdays, the market offers fruits, vegetables, breads, cheeses, homemade crafts, flowers, plants, and honey. Farmer’s Market t-shirts are available for purchase.
James Kerr, President of the Wauseon Downtown Association, shares with a smile, “The Wauseon Farmer’s Market is growing. The idea we want to get across to the public is that this is your community….the Farmer’s Market is a place to shop and visit with your friends.”
Items for purchase vary weekly by vendor and what produce is seasonally available. Presently, beans, cherries, zucchini and yellow summer squash, blueberries, and raspberries are plentiful. In the upcoming weeks, peaches will be making an appearance with apples and winter squash later in the summer. In addition, each week, generally, live music from local entertainers is featured. This particular week, Steve Snider from Fayette entertained with country western favorites.
This week, Bill and Julie Verhelst from the Swanton/Neapolis area were joined at the Farmer’s Market with Sonny, one of the thirty alpacas on their farm. Sonny makes appearances at multiple Farmer’s Markets and even has his own celebrity Facebook page, Sonny Alpaca, which details his scheduled appearances. The Verhlests offer items that feature alpaca fur such as yarn and both hand and needle felted items such as socks. The texture of alpaca fur has been compared to cashmere.
The Wauseon Downtown Association has a vision for continually growing the Farmer’s Market and meeting the needs of local citizens. “We have fruits, vegetables, breads, cheeses, honey…something to fill the entire plate. And it’s all local,” Kerr explains. A theme of the weekly market has been health. Blood pressure checks are offered most weeks as well. A future goal is to incorporate local restaurants utilizing the local produce in cooking demonstrations.
Kerr stresses that they are always looking for new vendors. The cost is only $5 a week or $50 a season. This year, the season consists of 16 weeks. The money goes into the Wauseon Downtown Association fund and is used to advertise the Farmer’s Market.
For locally produced items and great fellowship, the community is invited to spend some time Saturday mornings at the Wauseon Farmer’s Market.