Farmers Market offers variety

PARKERSBURG – Homegrown and homemade products are in abundance at local farmers markets and more is promised as the season continues.

The Downtown Farmers’ Marketplace in Parkersburg is among the larger venues for local vendors sell produce or products from home-based businesses.

“I have pies, cookies and painted slates and soon as the weather cooperates and our garden starts growing, we’ll have produce also,” said Iva Marshall of Wadesville.

The markets are closer than many of the craft shows she once attended, Marshall said. Marshall said she makes a living at the Parkersburg market at Third and Market streets and the market in Harrisville.

Farmers’ markets are appealing in many ways, Marshall said.

“There’s more variety,” she said. “I’m always adding or subtracting different things.”

She said it is hard to gauge what are the most popular items she sells.

“It depends on what people are looking for on a particular day,” she said. “The tarts, or miniature pies, are one of the bigger items.”

Andrea Drake has an assortment of plants, vegetables and homemade jams and jellies at her station.

“On and off I have been here since 2009,” she said. “This is the only market I come to. It’s more of a hobby for me.”

Drake said she started selling her items after she became interested in growing her own food and looking for locally grown foods.

“I saw a documentary ‘Food Inc.,’ and after watching that I started buying local meats and growing more of our own food,” she said. “All of the jams and jellies are made from berries I picked or grew myself.”

Drake said many of her plants, peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers and basil are from heirloom seeds. She sells some of her vegetables.

Last year she realized she was selling more of the jams and jellies. She even changed the name of her business to In a Jam. She said many of her customers are repeat customers and look for certain items from her.

For two years Sasha Wilson has been selling her own organic vegetables at the Farmers’ Marketplace. She sells a variety of greens and flowers.

“We have heirloom organic vegetables; we don’t spray them with any chemicals or anything like that,” she said. “We also sell duck eggs.”

Wilson said the duck eggs are a new offering for her this year.

“Many people are not aware we have them yet so many just want to try them. Most of the time it’s people we know who buy them,” she said. “They have three times the vitamins and protein of a chicken egg and half the cholesterol.

“They taste just like chicken eggs.”

Wilson said the farm they work in Washington, W.Va., has been in the family since the 1920s.

“For a long time it was a recreational farm and we decided to make it a produce farm,” she said. “There’s no one who grows heirloom and organic,” she said. “Somebody had to do it and we did it.”

Baked goods are sold by Kristina Canfield of K.C’s Cupcakes.

Canfield started making the cupcakes as a stress outlet.

“I just needed a new hobby,” she said. “That’s how it started out, something to de-stress my life.”

Canfield said her job at the time was working in drug and alcohol treatment and for her it was a high-stress job.

“I found my outlet in baking and it took off from there,” she said. “This is pretty much what I do full time now, not only do I work the farmers’ market, but I fill orders for birthday parties, bridal showers- cupcakes for any occasion.”

Canfield sad the varieties are those based on flavors that have been requested.

“I have a maple bacon cupcake my husband suggested,” she said. “He said ‘I want you to make a bacon cupcake.’ If you like pancakes with syrup and bacon that’s what it tastes like, only a little sweeter and in cake form.”

Canfield said the unusual cupcake has been a surprise best seller.

“Everyone who tries it falls in love with it,” she said.

Lewis Hill, of Walker, said he has been selling items at the downtown Parkersburg market. For him the sideline business sells eggs, lye soap and fruits and vegetables when in season. This is the only farmers’ market he attends, he said.

“We go to many of the fairs and festivals in the area,” Hill said.

Baked goods and baking mixes were what Marty Bumgartner, of Marietta, has been selling through her business Bread and Beyond Bakery. Bumgartner has been selling her breads at the downtown market since it began in 2008 with a variety of mixes, candy and fudge. She said the business is her livelihood.

“I’ve been doing really good,” she said. “I go to the Marietta farmers’ market and I have special orders for places like The Castle for their teas.”

Bumgartner has been making mixes for her own use and decided others might want to use them.

“I decided to make them to sell,” she said, adding her most popular item is a lemon poppy seed loaf.