If you’ve been to farmers’ markets before, you’ve seen the usual suspects – fresh fruits, vegetables, baked goods, jams, etc.
How about vegan baklava, made-to-order wood-fired pizzas, gourmet dog treats, goat soap or door draft stoppers?
Those are just some of the unique items that will be available at the Olde Pickerington Farmers’ Market, which kicks off its first season June 6.
The Olde Pickerington Village Business Association, seeing an opportunity to fill a need and draw attention to the area it works to promote, is organizing the market.
“We try to provide recognition and interest in our historic downtown area,” says association President Sandy Melillo.
The association hopes to provide live entertainment at the market as well, Melillo says.
Two of the inaugural vendors come from right here in Pickerington: Meri’s Bakery, owned by Meri Popovski, and Pompeii’s Inferno, owned by John and Tracy Glavocich.
Though this is the first-ever farmers’ market for Pompeii’s Inferno, its wood-fired pizzas are anything but new to John. He’s been making them for eight years with the brick oven in his back yard.
The pizzas served at the farmers’ market won’t be coming from that oven, though. They’ll be coming from the mobile pizza oven the Glavociches are bringing with them, which can cook up a piping hot pizza in just two minutes.
The oven uses refractory materials and heavy insulation to hold a 900-degree wood fire. John will make the pizza on a prep table, pop it in the oven – the front is open, so customers can watch their pizzas cook – and hand it right back.
John developed his interest in pizza when he and Tracy owned a Hershey’s Ice Cream store in Gahanna. He experimented with some pizza options and soon developed what he calls a “full-blown fixation” with pizza.
“Once we got out of the ice cream store business, I built this oven in my back yard, and since then, I’ve been experimenting with different dough, sauce and cheese combinations,” he says.
Speciality pizza options will include Neapolitan, pepperoni, potato bacon ranch, grilled chicken with pesto and New York-style meatball. Customers can also build their own pizzas, and Pompeii’s will be happy to add on herbs or other toppings customers have picked up elsewhere at the market.
Meri’s Bakery specializes in artisan breads, pastries, muffins and coffee cakes. Some of the items are free of animal products, such as the vegan baklava – which uses olive oil and canola oil instead of butter – and the vegan blueberry muffins.
Popovich, who last year was part of the Uptown Westerville Farmers’ Market, refers to the artisan bread as her biggest seller.
“It’s kind of sourdough, but not sour,” she says. “(It’s) wild east country bread.”
Popovich draws on her years of experience as a baker – she learned the skill in her birth country of Macedonia, and has in more recent years gained popularity at parties for her baked goods – to create the unique items at her booth at the farmers’ market.
“I used to bake, and I used to bake a lot,” she says.
Among the other vendors signed on this year are:
-Berry Family Farm, Pleasantville – beef, pork, chicken, eggs and jerky.
-Calico Country Creations, Lancaster – plants, vegetables, berries, pies, baked goods, blankets, pot holders, reusable air fresheners and door draft stoppers.
-Emelie’s Fresh Produce/Get Goodies & More, Canal Winchester – produce, baked goods, hot mustard, honey, peanut butter and jam.
-Merritt Family Farm, Lancaster – produce, maple syrup, jams, jellies, baked goods and crocheted items.
-No Bull Treats, Athens – all-natural gourmet dog treats and chews.
-Schultz Valley Farms, Bremen – herbs, baked goods, plants, cut flowers, hanging baskets, bird seed, lip balm, goat soap and a huge assortment of fresh vegetables.
-Shriner Farm, Thornville – strawberries and sweet corn.
The Olde Pickerington Farmers’ Market runs Thursdays from 4-7 p.m. through Sept. 26, except July 4. It is located at 89 N. Center St., a block north of Olde Pickerington Village.
Those interested in volunteering at the market should visit www.pickeringtonvillage.com for more information.
Garth Bishop is editor of Pickerington Magazine. Feedback welcome at email@example.com.