by Sarah Steighner
Ford City’s first farmers market brought a splash of color and intrigue to 3rd Avenue on Thursday afternoon.
Vendors set up an assortment of their vegetables and flowers for sale underneath tents. Meanwhile, a dozen customers wandered along from booth to booth checking out the local produce and plants within the starting hours of the farmers market.
Ford City Borough council members began preparation for this farmers market at the beginning of the calendar year. Amidst their planning they have been advertising and recruiting to local vendors in order to get the word out.
Perhaps, the most appealing aspect of this farmers market is that it is free for vendors whereas other markets require a vendors fee.
Ford City Borough Manager Eden Ratliff explained how the borough is excited to see this first farmers market in action, and they are even prepared to expand for additional vendors as the summer progresses.
“I hope that it gives the farmers an avenue of a place to sell their products and it allows for the citizens of Ford City to go and purchase vegetables or flowers and it gives them something to do in the afternoon and evening hours. I think it will be a nice social event and bring people to our town,” Ratliff said.
Among the vendors was Phil Tompkins with his “Rent The Chickens” booth.
Tompkins had a chicken coop with two chickens set up beside his booth to show people interested what they will receive and should expect when they participate in his rent the chicken business.
People wanting to rent chickens may choose between a small coop that houses two chickens and produces eight-14 eggs a week or the deluxe coop that houses four chickens and produces 16-24 eggs a week.
According to Tompkins, normally rentals are for six months and cost $400 for the small two chicken coop, and $600 for the deluxe four chicken coop.
The coops are assembled by the Amish in Smicksburg and everything including the coop, chickens, feed, and watering container is delivered free anywhere within 50 miles of Freeport.
“We’re teaching people where their food comes from. We’re supplying what I call yard to table. The great part about renting the hens is that you know what they’re eating,” Tompkins said.
Beside Tompkin’s booth was a booth set up by Dan and Anita Lynch of the Mosgrove Heights Apiary. Dan runs a free removal business for honey bee swarms. His, “Bee Be Gone” business goes to remove honey bees from trees and houses free of charge upon contacting him at 724-545-6720.
Additionally, the Lynch’s are starting a Beekeepers of A.B.C.I (Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Indiana) Club. Dan explained the importance of preserving bees that most people do not realize.
“Probably about 80-90 percent of the food we eat is pollinated by pollinators like bees,” Dan said.
Dan explained that beekeepers help provide homes and even medicate the bees during the season when there is not enough flowers. Along with bee removal, and providing a safe home for bees the Lynch’s give away and/or sell some of their honey in jars.
The Ford City’s farmers market will take place all summer long from 3PM to dusk every Thursday near the clock tower along 3rd avenue.