Steuben County Farmers Market
The Steuben County Farmers Market is definitely the place where everybody knows your name, and you never want to miss a single Saturday.
When the market first opens in the spring there isn’t much in the way of vegetables. Perhaps a few stalks of asparagus or barely enough rhubarb to make a pie, and sometimes I even leave with an empty basket, but it doesn’t matter.
Finally the weather warms, we put away our hats and gloves and greet our neighbors and local farmers once more. Up and down the aisle at the Community Center parking lot laughter can be heard as stories are told and folks lament about the long winter. (It always has been a long winter!) We ask about families, and of course, we ask about crops and the land. Because we are a rural community, much conversation can be heard talking about soil and water conditions. “Will this be a good year for tomatoes?” “When do you think you will have sweet corn?” “That sure was a long winter this year.” “Did you get the peas out, Edna?”
On the first day of the market I get out my twenty dollar bill, my basket, and walk on over to be part of this community.
As the day light grows longer, and the soil warms, more and more vegetables arrive at the market. Now there are early zucchinis, radishes, yellow squashes, and new onions.
Of course the honey folks, the Dalrymple, are always there with their jars of honey and their honey sticks. They are a favorite with the children and usually have a few dozen farm fresh eggs tucked away in a cooler under their table. (But you better get there early or the eggs will be gone!)
As the lazy days of summer arrive so does the sweet corn. It usually arrives by the truck load and the Holmans sell right out of the bed of the truck. Ralph and Colleen are staples at the farmers market, and I can think of more than one occasion when they have delivered my goods to the house when they wouldn’t fit in my bike basket.
With my twenty dollar bill I can fill my basket with rose water from Amy Oberlin (by this time next year I will look twenty years younger), cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, a bracelet, and sometimes I can even find space for a hand-hooked rug. I will have ordered my fire wood to be delivered and made coffee dates!
By now, in the middle of the summer, the market is held twice a week. Wednesday mornings find our farmers and craft folks all lined up at Monument Plaza in Angola. Parking is easy there and it is not usually so crowded. If you want fresh peaches though, you better go early!
When I have out of town guests there are many activities they want to partake in…they want to go out to Pokagon, or to the Brokaw, or even pick up a Yoga class in the park this summer, but everyone takes their turn at the Steuben County Farmers Market.
We might not have the fanciest coffees or luxurious croissants, but I guarantee you this, after a few visits everyone will know your name, and you will feel like you are home.