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Chester County Press

Community grows with the 2023 KSQ Farmers Market

04/18/2023 10:40AM ● By Steven Hoffman

The 23rd season of the KSQ Farmers Market is now underway and everyone in the community is invited to stop by and discover what’s new this season. KSQ Farmers Market customers glean the benefits of the freshest, healthiest, and most flavorful food with the fewest food miles. They also support the livelihood of local farmers and producers, make a positive and important environmental impact by supporting growers who are restoring the land and preserving biodiversity, and connect more deeply with this place local residents call home.

Just as not all food labeled “natural” actually is, many “farmers markets” feature merchandise that’s brought in from elsewhere alongside locally grown items. The KSQ Farmers Market, by contrast, is a producers-only market. Customers know where their food comes from because they buy directly from the people who grow and make what they sell.

“Something many people don’t realize is that a true farmers market like ours is the ‘storefront’ for most of the small, family-run businesses who are at market week to week. And for most, these businesses are their livelihood—not just side gigs,” said Market Manager Ros Fenton. “When you make the KSQ Farmers Market part of your grocery shopping routine, you are truly supporting your local community and our local economy. Your hard-earned food dollars go directly into sustaining the businesses of these hard-working local people.”

Market shopping is also more fun. Part of the joy of frequenting a local farmers market is exploring new foods and rediscovering how “real food” tastes, in addition to finding accompaniments that complete meals and menus and make staple ingredients sing. With favorite vendors returning for the season in addition to some fresh faces, the 2023 season is full of promise.

2023 season overview

More and more weekly, bi-weekly, and monthly growers and producers will gradually return to the market over the coming weeks. Fenton, who has managed the market for over six seasons now, carefully vets vendors for quality and pieces together a weekly jig-saw puzzle so that each week’s market features all the staples as well as a great variety of vendors and products. Though each week is slightly different, shoppers can count on finding a wide selection of in-season fruit and vegetables in addition to meat, dairy products, baked goods, prepared foods, and more, every Friday.

Beginning in May, abundant produce will be supplied throughout the season by a number of different farms, including longtime market favorites Douglas and Elizabeth Randolph of Swallow Hill. Several new local farms will be joining the market lineup this season, replacing Flying Plow. These include bi-weekly vendors Bright Spot Farm, which trains and supports youth in Wilmington and Newark, and Full Table Farm. Full Table is a relatively new farm in Kennett Square run by experienced farmers and longtime market customers Liam Miller and Timothy Colman. Market customers will also be delighted to see Rachel Brewer bringing produce grown on her own farm, Brewer’s Hideaway Farm. 

“Rachel has been the face of Flying Plow at the Kennett market for years and is such a part of the community already,” Fenton said. “She’s also been farming herself for many years and has plans to grow through the winter months as well.”

Rex Farm Orchards will be at the market every Friday as soon as the berries start to ripen, and King’s Sweet Corn & Produce will return when their delicious corn comes into season. Family Tree and Walnut Hill Flower Farm will also bring plants and flowers, respectively, every week. Other weekly vendors for the season will include Honeymoon Farm (mushrooms), Lindenhof Farm (meat and eggs), Taste of Puebla, and Green Lion Breads, Heart Stone Pastry, and Tat’s Yummies with baked goods.

The market will also welcome newcomers Kombucha Bliss as well as Aaji’s, a women-led family venture bringing Coastal Indian products including their Tomato Lonsa. Another familiar face from Flying Plow, Amber Henderson, will be bringing her Tree of Life natural soaps to the market on alternate weeks from Botanical Bubbles so there will be a range of handcrafted body care products every week.

Market goers will find local cheeses and dairy products from a variety of longtime favorite vendors every week, and honey, yogurt, nut butters, pastas, pickles, hot sauces, brittle, and maple products every other week. Makers bringing artisan spice blends and cocktail mixers, dog treats, local grains and granola, herbal teas, hand-turned wooden bowls, hand-sewn reusable bags and more, and gluten-free baked goods will all be at the market on a monthly basis.

While the serendipity of seeing what’s in season is often part of the fun of shopping at a farmers market, Fenton also makes it easy for those who are making a commitment to eating local to plan ahead. Subscribers to the KSQ Farmers Market newsletter receive a clear, user-friendly email each week listing not only the vendors who will be there on Friday but also what they will be bringing as well as links and any relevant pre-ordering information.

A community hub

Part of what makes Kennett Square unique and special are the events that happen in every season—from Third Thursdays to parades, the Mushroom Festival, Brewfest, and the Holiday Village Market. The KSQ Farmers Market, with its unique weekly mix of vendors and community partners and its location at The Creamery—a perfect place to enjoy post-market al fresco food and drinks—is like a mini Third Thursday experience or a smaller, summertime version of the popular Holiday Village Market with a culinary focus.

“Our farmers market is more than just a place to buy fresh, locally grown produce. It’s a vibrant community hub that brings together farmers, producers, and consumers, fostering relationships and supporting local economies,” said Kennett Collaborative executive director Daniel Embree. The market is a program of Kennett Collaborative and reflects the organization’s mission to create programs and events that help Kennett become a more beautiful and welcoming community where all can belong and prosper. “Through Kennett Collaborative’s commitment to the market, we’re not only promoting healthy eating and sustainable agriculture, but also building a stronger and more connected community,” Embree said.

Planting and nurturing seeds of community through partnerships has always been central to the mission of the KSQ Farmers Market. “The market brings community members together to feed each other, share knowledge, and grow together as a community,” Fenton said. She continues to work on expanding food access opportunities through partnerships with KACS, Chester County Food Bank, and Mighty Writers and through Pennsylvania’s Farmers Market Nutrition Program available to WIC participants and low-income seniors.

Sharing resources for learning is another key component of the market ethos. The Kennett Library will be at the market every Friday in May with their Seed Library, and guest speakers will explore the theme of seeds on the last Friday of each month through the season. An Earth Day celebration on April 21 will feature free seeds from the library as well as free tree seedlings from the Spade and Trowel Garden Club.

With so much variety and guaranteed quality, as well as free and convenient parking and a friendly welcome, shopping at the KSQ Farmers Market outside The Creamery on Birch Street every Friday is a sustainable, enjoyable way to do your grocery shopping and enjoy the abundance of the 2023 season in Southern Chester County.