Downtown farmers market to offer local, healthy foods

Bowling Green’s Downtown is set to begin hosting the fourth annual Farmers Market May 22.

The market will be hosted in the parking lot of Huntington Bank near Clough Street and South Main Street every Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. until Oct. 16.

“This year we will have special features like live music and children’s activities,” said Barbara Ruland, director of Downtown Bowling Green. “We want people to know this is more than vegetables in a parking lot.”

Ruland said the market will hold 27 tents of vendors that will be selling their products for the first time as well as vendors who have been at the market from the beginning, four years ago.

Wanda Forshee, of Cheeky Tiki Grill and Smoothie Bar, which is located in Custar, Ohio, said she has been selling hot and cold sandwiches since the first farmers market began.

“We use fresh, locally grown meat and veggies,” Forshee said. “We are a polynesian-meets-midwest mobile restaurant that people can’t get outside of Wood County.”

Forshee said even though the store’s product may be more expensive, the customers realize they are paying for quality.

“Our customers are serious about healthy food and they are willing to pay more for quality,” she said.

Senior Morgan Ward said she looks forward to the return of the market because she likes using it to pick out her meals for the week.

“I go to the farmers market because of the fresh produce and it is cheaper than Kroger,” Ward said. “It is the truest way to get organic and eat locally.”

Ward said she likes to buy vegetables, pulled pork and jam from the market.

Courtney Hann, events coordinator for Downtown Bowling Green said she hopes the community gets involved with a new feature recipes campaign, she said.

The feature recipes campaign involves competitors who use featured, locally grown ingredients that were purchased at the market.

The contest is hosted the last Wednesday of each month and the winner will have their entry sampled at the following Wednesday’s market.

“We want [community members] to be involved,” Hann said, noting the list of rules and items of the month will be on downtown’s website.

Ruland said she hopes this competition is a friendly competition.

“We want people to use the featured product and eat healthy, Ruland said. “The winner gets glory and a bag of goodies from the market.”

The market was started after many community members asked Ruland to bring a farmers market to the city, Ruland said.

Since the market opened four years ago, Ruland has learned about how to make her market more successful, she said.

“We have held focus groups and one of the most common complaints is that when people buy things, they have to go home right away or it will go bad,” Ruland said.

This year, she’s made a commitment to have her customers keep their food as good as possible by holding a valet service. This free service, will provide a cooler, which will hold the food to keep it fresh.

“We want our customers to go out and play, then they can come back and take it home at the end of their day,” Ruland said.