On Saturday mornings at the height of summer, the Yellow Springs Farmer’s Market gets as crowded, garrulous, and animated as any Arab souk. The market has thrived for 25 years at the heart of the village. It’s only two blocks from my home, and walking there is one of the best occasions for flanarie this side of Rue Mouffetard.
So a line in last week’s local newspaper made me frown with dismay. Several vendors at the farmer’s market “have discussed the possibility of relocating to a bigger space with more parking.” That means something like the South Town Farmer’s Market that began last year in the parking lot at Dollar General, on the outskirts of town. More parking, of course, is a blind flaneur’s idea of hell. Few people would walk out to Dollar General, and I surely couldn’t drive there. In a summer when everyone is kvetching about peak oil and the price of gasoline, moving an indigenous market to a bigger parking lot feels counter-intuitive, even antediluvian.
Lauren Heaton’s Yellow Springs News feature about the market has all the ingredients of homegrown news, from photos of cute kids to names of neighbors. Here’s a hefty slice:
Dan Accurso, who has sold organic bison meat at the market for four years, talks easily about Running Bare Ranch, which he and his wife Debi operate near the Clark County Fairgrounds. A retired school teacher with a long-time fascination with the old West, Accurso began breeding in 2001 and now has 28 head of bison raised totally naturally on filtered well water without herbicide, pesticide or growth hormone. Committed to sustainable agriculture, he believes bison are the healthiest for consumption because humans have not interfered with their genetic code by overbreeding them.
“They are as they were 150 years ago out on the plains,” he said.
Running Bare sells ground bison meat, steaks, roasts, sausage and jerky, as well as organic, free range chicken and duck eggs, which Accurso raises as a natural fly, mosquito, tick and pest control on his farm. According to Sarah Husk, who buys a pound of bison meat and a dozen eggs from Accurso every week, the eggs from Running Bare are the best she’s ever tasted.
“These eggs have really orange yolks, and they just taste better than any other I’ve tried, and I’ve tried them all,” she said.
Running Bare may have the best eggs, but White Mountain Honey Farm has the best raw honey. Beekeepers Jeffrey and Lisa Wilson and their children Crystal and Jesse have been selling bee products at the farmer’s market for five years from their farm on Lewis Road in Xenia. The Wilsons have 85 hives, each housing 60,000 bees, located in Yellow Springs, Xenia, Bellbrook and the surrounding areas that help to pollinate farmer’s market vendors Peach Mountain and Jackson’s Farm, as well as Breezy Acres, Berry Hill and Countryside Apple Orchard.
At the market, according to Lisa Wilson, White Mountain sells a light, mild spring honey made from the locust blossoms, a slightly darker summer clover honey, and a bold flavored fall honey made from the abundant and pungent goldenrod, the primary floral source that blooms in the fall. Wilson and her children also harvest the honeycomb regularly to make body lotions, lip balm and handmade soaps in 33 scents, including orange blossom, pear berry, coffee, a scent called “love story,” and a garden mint speckled with herb bits that smells just like a patch of fresh spearmint.
The Wilsons make their living raising bees organically because they feel it is a truer, less superficial way to live by the seasonal cycles while being respectful of the environment, Jeffrey Wilson said. And being at the farmer’s market, Lisa Wilson said, is an extension of that connection to the community members, who now feel kind of like family to her.
About the image: Carrie and Glen Smith stole away from their uncle Danny McGovern’s veggie stand to sample the scents of White Mountain Honey Farm’s beeswax soaps. [Photo by Lauren Heaton/Yellow Springs News]