NOW THAT the calendar (and Mother Nature) have officially told us it's summer, that means only one thing to the Buds. Home grown foods!
But the Buds aren't so good with the green thumb thing. So when the need for fresh, locally grown produce hits the Buds, we know just where to go to get the goods - the Ohio Valley Farmers' Market.
The Buds stopped by the farmers' market at 32nd and Union Streets in Bellaire on an overcast Saturday morning, but there were still plenty of folks shopping at the market.
The Buds made their way from vendor to vendor checking out all the beautiful goods they offered. Not only are there fresh veggies, fruits, meats, eggs and baked goods, but also quite a unique variety of homemade soaps, crafts and beauty products. These were the vendors in attendance that day.
Lone Oak Farms, operated by Bill and Susan West, brought a variety of items to the market that day including organic granola and sourdough bread. Fresh produce included green onions, lettuce, alfalfa, garlic scapes, swiss chard, peas, spinach and sprouts.
Evelyn & Riley's Fresh Squeezed Lemonade was operated by some adorable little girls. A sign next to the table said, "Please be patient. We're learning," rendering pretty much everyone, including the Buds, powerless to the cuteness. We caved, and wound up drinking some pretty tasty lemonade!
Fine As Frog's Hair, operated by Pamela Dunn, brought her famous handmade soaps in a variety of wonderful scents. Some of the flavors included frankincense, peppermint and pumice, sandalwood, olive oil, goats milk, oatmeal, patcholi, peppermint cocoa swirl, jewelweed, lavendar, Mother Earth herb garden and calendula petals. Each Bud snagged a soap - Bud Em the sandalwood and Bud Shaunna the Mother Earth herb garden - and so far are loving them!
The Giffin Family of Bellaire brought along their Stevia no bake cookies and even offered bite sized samples to patrons (yummy!). Also available was GMO free popcorn, fresh strawberries and jams, calendula and raspberry plants, and a nice variety of homewares like bath and cleaning soaps, salve, lip balms and kitchen wares.
Up next was Mmm...Popcorn, a newcomer to the market. Owners Dave and Betsy McFarland brought their homemade popcorn in creole, caramel and cheddar flavors. Flavors are always changing, and the McFarlands say they're always experimenting with new combinations. In fact, they whipped up a bag of Chicago flavor (cheddar plus caramel) for the Buds. Mmm! The sweet and salty treat was fabulous and left the Buds eager to try some of their other flavors.
Mr. Greenjeans, run by Ken Swisher, had a large selection of various dried organic spices and seasonings. Among the flavors were basil, cilantro, dill, hot pepper, marjoram, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme, as well as a variety of seasoning blends including creole, chili, Italian and poultry. Bud Em picked up a jar of cilantro and couldn't wait to use it.
Sue Wright had her table loaded up with many sweet treats including peanut butter and chocolate fudge, blueberry jam, and pizelles. She also had some really nice looking potatoes as well as peas. Bud Em snagged a basket of tiny potatoes that she cooked and flavored with butter and fresh dill.
The Northern Belles brought some delightful pastries including massive pecan cinnamon rolls and apple sticks, as well as a mixture of jams and jellies, dip mixes and pico de gallo. The loaves of Italian and focaccia bread looked and smelled heavenly. Bud Em took home a loaf of the soft Italian bread, which didn't last very long at all - delicious!
Thornton Enterprises out of Jacobsburg offered up ripe, fresh raspberries and blueberries, along with several homemade jams. They shared a table with their friends at Harland Farms, who brought along jams, their delicious dilly beans and hot peppers stuffed with sauerkraut that had Bud Em nearly drooling.
The Hilltop Coffee Company is based in Washington, Pa. and roast their own coffees. Market goers could sample their special blend and sunrise blend coffees, and there were many different flavors available for purchase, including Brazil, Ethiopian, regular and decaf, and numerous flavored options like raspberry cream, amaretto and hazelnut. Bud Shaunna bought small bags of the Ethiopian and raspberry cream blends, and they were fantastic!
Micah and Akiko Brownstein offered aromatic products for rejuvenation and for your home, which included deodorant, toothpaste, hair detangler, air freshener and sea salt scrub. There were also samples of invigorating Young Living Essential Oils in scents sure to calm even the most tense person.
Boyd's had a table filled with wonderful handmade signs and paintings on wood and slate. The Buds chuckled at some of the humorous slogans, and noted that these items would make great gifts for any homeowner.
The Cookie Jar served up some cookies that were almost as big as their table! Well, not really, but they sure were big! Some of their goodies included giant red velvet cookies, M&M cookies, cherry pastry sticks and raspberry and white chocolate scones. Bud S immediately purchased a bag of two red velvet cookies for her hubby.
Eric Rubel of Crossroads Farm had plenty of his pasture-raised meats on hand, including chicken, chicken sausage; whole chickens, thighs, drums, wings; ground beef and beef patties, steaks, roast; and pork. Bud Shaunna bought a package of six frozen chipotle chicken sausages, and they tasted every bit as good as they sound!
The OV Farmers' Market operates at Bel-Morr Market in Belmont Thursdays from 3-6 p.m. through Oct. 24, and at 32nd and Union Streets in Bellaire Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon through Oct. 26. There are plenty of chances to visit throughout the season, and a wide variety of produce, crafts and personal care products will be waiting!
The Buds can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.