August 29, 2014

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Harvest time in Lorain

Farmers market at Black River Landing is still going strong 

LORAIN — Farm-fresh produce, herbs, honey and baked goods have been staples at the Black River Landing farmers market for almost three seasons now. 

Although September is approaching, the stream of customers in search of locally produced goods is as steady now as it was in early July.

JASON MILLER / CHRONICLE

Vivian Tuck buys vegetables from Ken Baumhardt at the farmers market.

The market, located in the Black River Landing Transportation Building, opens its doors 9 a.m. to 1 p.m every Saturday, rain or shine, through Sept. 29.

The building is home to a number of vendors including Knoble Farms, Gander Farms, Jorgensen’s Apiary, Sunny’s Tasty Treats, Miss Kitti’s Nut Rolls, and the Sweetstuff by Terri Bakery as well as local goods from Ken Baumhardt and David Kelly.
Vendors and customers alike praise the easy-going lakeside atmosphere. Market veteran Lori Riegel-Kapalin cooks up tasty salt, sugar, and MSG-free doggie treats for canine customers each week.

“The whole experience of meeting new people and making friends in such a relaxing atmosphere is something I love,” Kapalin said.
This season, she and her husband have used all the proceeds from their products to support the Cleveland Breast Cancer Three-Day Walk, in which they’ll participate this weekend. 

Kitti Lavonn, from Miss Kitti’s Nut Rolls, says that her first year has been an excellent experience.
“People find that it’s better than going to the grocery store,” she said, “Everything is real festive and the fact that the customers are excited to shop makes it even more enjoyable for us to be here.”

She and her husband originally began selling nut and poppy seed rolls, but as sales grew steadier, the team decided to expand their selections to include blueberry and apricot — two summertime favorites.

Like Lavonn, Terri Houdeshell, owner of the Sweetstuff by Terri Bakery, has become familiar with many of the weekly faces.
“Seeing the regular customers come in week after week is like being visited by close friends and it makes our work fun,” Houdeshell said.

Houdeshell customizes some of her fare to the changing seasons. Her pumpkin rolls have become such a hot item that they’ve made an early debut this year.

“Our pumpkin rolls usually don’t come out until later,” she said, “but we decided to start making them in August instead of September since we’ve had so many requests.”

If your taste buds tend to lean toward fruits and vegetables, the market isn’t lacking in selection. Ken Baumhardt sells fresh seasonal produce grown on his Wellington farm, including peppers, melons, tomatoes and green and wax beans. In fact, all of the participating farmers yield a variety of produce from the beginning of summer until the very end that customers can stock up on over the next month and freeze for winter. 

Lavonn has already bought corn and green beans in preparation for the end of the season.
“It’s nice to have a little taste of summer in December,” she said.

Contact Jill Mahon at 329-7155 or metro@chroniclet.com.