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Central Ohio farmers markets start fresh in 2021

Several farmers markets have opened once again, as vendors keep COVID-19 safety precautions at the top of their minds for the 2021 season.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Farmers markets in the Columbus area have started fresh for the 2021 season. Several have opened once again, as vendors keep COVID-19 safety precautions at the top of their minds.  

“Not knowing what was going to be happening with COVID-19, the thought of going back to our traditional street location where we’re packing 2,000 people on a 10’ sidewalk seemed a little overwhelming,” Executive Director of Common Greens Michelle White said.

Common Greens is the new umbrella organization over operations for Clintonville, Bexley and Upper Arlington farmers markets this year.  

To keep up with social distancing, the Clintonville Farmers’ Market will be located at the Ohio History Center once again. According to White, the larger space allows for more people, as well as contactless curbside service.

Live music and pre-packaged samples will also return to the location in designated areas, she added.  

“For any market that you’re going to visit, just make sure before you come it doesn’t hurt to check their social media or their website to make sure there aren’t any updates. You know, the situation continues to be fluid,” White added.  

David Kelly is the owner and a producer for Hummavore, a fresh hummus business out of Wooster.  

Kelly makes his hummus with top-notch ingredients and at colder temperatures. He explained that the product is something that can’t be found on store shelves.  

Kelly drives down to Columbus-area markets like Clintonville, Worthington and Granville, as well as the Bexley Natural Market, every Saturday. He said that he hopes to see the business continue to pick up after the 2020 slump.  

“I have started to notice customers that I haven’t seen in over a year that are starting to come back,” he said. “You know, like, ‘I got the vaccine. I feel comfortable coming out to purchase.’ So that’s really encouraging.” 

Brett Rhoads is another local producer who hopes to see more people shop locally this year.  

The third-generation owner of Rhoads Farm Inc. grows about 150 acres of different fruits and vegetables, 30 miles south of Columbus.  

Most of their product is sold at their garden center in Circleville, but they also do a fair amount of sales at the farmers’ markets in Dublin, Worthington and Hilliard, Rhoads said.  

While they’re taking all the necessary safety measures to protect against COVID-19, there is one challenge that has been good for business.

“We’ve had to plant more and grow more because the demand for fresh fruits and vegetables actually went up during COVID,” he said. “We’ve seen that nationally too, as well. A lot of the statistics, especially with small fruit, I think people are trying to eat healthy.” 

But for people looking for the best fresh produce, Rhoads reminds buyers that because of Ohio’s climate, a lot of that produce will be more available come late June and July, through August.  

More information on area farmers’ markets around Central Ohio: