HAMILTON — The debut of Hamilton’s newest farmers market drew hundreds of area residents and city and county employees to browse and purchase local and regional food and handmade goods.
Market on the Plaza runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays through Oct. 31 outside the Hamilton Municipal Building at 345 High St., but Thursday’s rain forced the event inside.
Thursday’s market featured everything from cookies, produce and coffee to bread, soaps and handcrafted baby items.
Leah Nelson, of Hamilton, who came to the market with her husband and their two children, liked the variety of goods and said having a market to shop during week was a better option for her family than finding time to attend one on the weekend.
“Especially with my daughter being in 4-H, all of their activities are on the weekend, so we don’t always get a chance to go to a lot of weekend activities,” Nelson said. “Having something in the community during the week gives a chance to get out here and get more involved.”
A cooking demonstration saw professional chef Sarah Cox-Smith use some of the market’s syrups, spices, jellies, jams and cold-press Greek olive oils and drew a large lunchtime crowd that quickly devoured her gourmet concoctions.
“It’s great to push the local food revolution to keep buying local and get involved with the community gardens that are starting … and just come together as a community,” said Cox-Smith, who plans to post recipes from each week’s demonstration at Facebook.com/MarketOnThePlaza.
Margo Kinney, of Hamilton, said she read about the market online and decided to check it out.
“I tried all the free samples and I liked them,” she said. “I bought some olive oil and I bought some cookies.”
Barbara Gheddari, who makes and sells cold-processed, artisan soaps, oils, lotions, lip balms and other products, typically attends craft shows throughout Ohio and once a week at a Bridgewater Falls market. She said selling her wares at Hamilton’s Market on the Plaza was “a great opportunity.”
“I love being able to meet local customers and it just gives you a basis for the buy local effort,” Gheddari said.
Mark Binas, a Hamilton High School senior in charge of organizing entertainment for the market, played guitar off to the side of the vendor booths.
Binas said future entertainment will include not only area musicians, but also dancers and poetry readings.
“I’m trying to keep it all diverse,” he said. “There will be a little something for everyone.”
Alfred Hall, co-founder of Hamilton Urban Garden Systems, which manages the market, said he envisions adding a Tuesday market to Hamilton’s Thursday and Saturday offerings next year to bolster community involvement and awareness.
“We want to have one in the Fourth Ward or in the Second Ward at Booker T. Washington (Community Center),” Hall said. “We’d like to have a farmers market every other day so people can shop and find out about the neighborhoods in Hamilton.”