Sunday, May 21, 2000

Waynesville market more than fresh produce

Emphasis on local and organic goods

By Jenny Callison
Enquirer Contributor

        WAYNESVILLE — The Waynesville Farmer's Market is more than a place for produce. It's a weekly celebration of southwest Ohio agriculture.

        Each Saturday between mid-May and Labor Day, about 15 farmers and other vendors bring their wares to the parking lot of Der Dutchman Restaurant in Waynesville. Offerings range from bedding plants and cut flow ers to honey and organically produced meats.

        The market also hosts a Healthy Living Series with a different program each week. The first session focused on safe canning practices. The next features sixth-generation Waynesville farmer Milton Cook, who will demonstrate how to make soil blocks for early planting of seed.

        “The purpose of the Healthy Living Series is to educate and entertain with the types of products we sell,” said Sonya Staffan , a certified canner who serves as the market's director. “When we planned the series, we had three groups in mind: the health-conscious folks, the tourists who like to get unusual items to take home, and local folks, who are looking for fresh produce.”

        Many participants in the Waynesville market farm organically. Guy and Sandra Ashmore, of That Guy's Family Farm in Clarksville, specialize in produce from asparagus to zucchini, and they also raise pastured chickens and turkeys.

        “We find that it's easier to farm abiding by nature's laws as opposed to man's laws,” Mrs. Ashmore said. “The basic premise is to feed the soil and not the plants.”

        Using portable enclosures, the Ashmores move their chickens daily so they can find plenty of the insects and worms they need. In turn, the birds fertilize the soil.

        “Our eggs are produced on grass or on pasture,” said Mrs. Ashmore. “A study done (by the Pastured Poultry Producers in Pennsylvania) showed that eggs from hens on pasture have 34 percent less cholesterol.”

        “We try to push local and organic,” Mrs. Staffan said. “Our farmers grow plants for taste rather than for how they ship. Whatever is left over from the Farmer's Market they sell at small roadside markets or to area mar kets and restaurants.”

        Each year, attendance at the Waynesville site has grown, according to Mrs. Staffan.

        “Most of our customers come from the Dayton and Cincinnati areas, including Clermont County,” she said. “But we get a lot of out-of-staters who come to Waynesville to shop for antiques. One couple from New Jersey visit us every year. Last year they bought $150 worth of canned goods from me. They bring a huge cooler and buy frozen organic chicken and meat from Dale Filbrun . They stock up for the winter.”


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- Waynesville market more than fresh produce