Buying local is important to keeping a local economy growing, and shopping at your neighborhood farmer’s market is one way to help out. Zanesville resident, Kevin McGrath, says he’s happy to shop local at the Muskingum County Farmer’s Market.
"We come out about every other weekend. We try and buy local instead of from other places. There’s a variety, there’s all kinds of wheats from inside the barn and there’s plants; different varieties of plants. You just never know what you’re going to find here," said McGrath.
The Muskingum County Farmer’s Market has been around since 1975, making it one of the longest running farmer’s markets in Ohio. You can get all of your shopping done here because there’s a variety of vendors who sell everything from lotions, popcorn, trinkets, flowers, collectible coins and local meats, something most farmer’s markets don’t offer.
"We sell hamburgers, hot dogs, marinated chicken breast, ham salad, you name it, we’ve got it, something to do with meat, we’ve got it," said Dale Phillips, Owner of Phillips Meats.
Judie Censabaugh makes an hour trip to the Muskingum County Fairgrounds every Saturday to sell cheese. She says what makes her cheese better than store bought competitors is that her product is fresh and local.
"I let everybody taste it, but it’s fresh cheese and they’ll tell you that. They say, ‘this tastes so different,’ and of course I have to tell them, and I’m sorry to the grocery store people, but it’s fresh," said Censabaugh.
Mark Barnhart sells regular and organic produce including tomatoes, eggplants, flowers and hanging plants at the fairgrounds. Barnhart is not only a farmer, but a Vietnam Veteran. He spent four months in the hospital and says he used farming as a way of therapy to start walking again.
"They told me I would probably ever walk again without a walker. I was 105 pounds and if I hadn’t taken their advice, I’d be in a wheelchair now. But when I went out and started planting in the garden again. I didn’t do a good job for two years but it was the best thing I ever did," said Barnhart.
At the height of the season which runs from May through October, the farmer’s market gets around 8,000 shoppers. If you can’t make it on Saturday’s, the Muskingum County Welcome Center hosts a farmer’s market Wednesday’s starting in June.