Kennett Square Farmers Market opens for 22nd season on Friday, May 705/03/2021 07:37PM ● By Steven Hoffman
The 22nd season of the Kennett Square Farmers Market promises to be more vibrant than ever, with the return of many familiar and well-loved farmers and producers, as well as the addition of some new vendors to round out the mix of offerings, according to Ros Fenton, the market manager.
The market will open for its regular weekly season with a full vendor lineup on Friday, May 7 at The Creamery at 401 Birch Street. The new hours for the summer season are 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
The events of 2020 have highlighted the resiliency and adaptability of farmers markets as well as the critical importance of investing in local food systems. In addition to these broader concerns, food purchased directly from the grower or producer is safer, fresher, and healthier—and it tastes better, too. There’s no comparison between a grocery store carrot, for example, and a carrot grown at Flying Plow Farm. The “fine produce home grown with love” that Douglas and Elizabeth Randolph bring to the market each Friday begins the day growing on the vine at their Swallow Hill Farm in Cochranville.
“Unfortunately, well-loved Amish farmer Benuel King, of Breezy Acre Flowers, won’t be returning this season,” said Fenton. “We know he will be missed by many, but we’re excited to announce that King’s Produce, a small family farm located in Parkesburg, will be joining us from July through October this year—and they have a wonderful connection to the Kennett community and the now-iconic pickup truck at the entrance to The Creamery.”
When Dave King was in junior high back in the early 1970s, Fenton said, his family grew sweet corn that he and his siblings sold from the back of a pickup truck by the side of the road and used the money they made for back-to-school supplies and new school shoes. Dave is returning to his roots in one sense by joining the Kennett Square Farmers Market, as the old truck at The Creamery entrance was the family’s first corn-picking truck. The Kings now grow 22 acres of fresh produce and sell most of it at their roadside farm stand.
The Kings, like all Kennett Square Farmers Market growers, farm with a focus on soil health and pick produce daily in order to deliver the freshest vegetables possible to customers. The Kings will bring a wide variety of vegetables to market—from sweet corn, beans, and tomatoes in July to winter squash, cauliflower, and Romanesco in October.
Other new vendors this season include Dannie Wright, of Hilltop Flower Design. Dannie grows seasonal cut flowers on an intensively managed three-acre plot, and she’ll bring sustainable hand-tied bouquets comprising heirloom and newly bred annuals, perennials, woodies, and bulbs. Dannie will be at the market bi-weekly, alternating weeks with another new vendor, Seven Springs Perennials. Aaron Young and Andrew Currie of Seven Springs will bring cut flowers and medicinal and culinary herbs and, later in the season, teas and spice blends. They’re working on organic certification and using organic practices in the meantime.
“Andrew and I both feel that regenerative agriculture is the only sustainable future of food production,” Aaron Young said. They’re taking the long and holistic view to farming, having planted six acres of Chinese Chestnut trees, elderberries, hazelnuts, and figs from which they’ll be able to harvest in three to five years. Following a silvopasture model, their integrated land use will combine trees, forage, and livestock.
“In addition to the much-anticipated return of our favorite vendors, we have a few special guest vendors lined up too,” said Fenton. “Happy Cat Farm, for example, will join us on May 7 with their well-tended heirloom tomato and pepper plants. There will also be guest food artisans throughout the season. Signing up for the weekly Farmers Market e-newsletter is the best way to find out about vendor schedules, special offerings, pre-ordering options, and more.”
Returning weekly farmers and growers will include Swallow Hill Farm, Flying Plow Farm, Canter Hill Farm, Honeymoon Farm / Medina Mushrooms, MyGreens, and Family Tree Plants, with Rex Farms Orchard joining the weekly schedule later in May. Returning food artisans include weekly vendors Brandywine Valley Bread, Deer Creek Malthouse, and Taste of Puebla. A dozen other growers, makers, and food artisans, including Tat’s Yummies, will fill out the market offerings on a bi-weekly rotation. The many fans of Joanne’s Candy Kitchen will be happy to hear that Kevin will be returning after a year off, also on a bi-weekly schedule. For a full list of 2021 market vendors, go to the Kennett Square Farmers Market website.
“Market manager Ros Fenton has done an exceptional job bringing a diverse combination of talented and passionate growers and producers together to make the KSQ Farmers Market a great experience for customers as well as vendors,” says Historic Kennett Square executive director Bo Wright. “We’re thankful to Square Roots Collective and The Creamery for hosting us and hope people will make the most of their visit to the market by staying to enjoy all The Creamery has to offer as well. We also want to acknowledge the generosity of our sponsors who make the KSQ Farmers Market possible. By making a significant investment in the KSQ Farmers Market, Arthur Hall Insurance, Lester Water, Harvest Market Natural Foods, The Organic Mechanics Soil Company, WasteWell, and WorKS are all making a meaningful and ongoing impact in our community.”
The mission of the Kennett Square Farmers Market, a program of Historic Kennett Square, is to provide access to fresh, locally grown or produced products directly from growers and producers; to support area farmers and food artisans; to build a sense of community and mutual respect while promoting the benefits of supporting local agriculture; and to support the economic vitality of the Kennett area.