Our Guide to the Granville Farmers Market

make the most of our local market!

We’re pretty big fans of our neighborhood Granville Farmers Market, held in downtown Granville Saturdays 8:30 to noon. For small town Ohio, there is an amazing selection of fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, meats, cheeses, baked goods, handmade soaps, fruit preserves, fresh flowers... you name it!

The market is run by the Granville Chamber of Commerce and is held on Main Street just north of Broadway. Market season begins in early May, which is a bit early for most produce, but spring greens such as spinach, lettuce and kale have already made an appearance from local growers with high tunnels (unheated greenhouses that allow for season extension). And it’s a great time to shop around for plants to plant in your own garden. The Chamber also runs the Tuesday market, held 3-6 pm in the parking lot of Ross IGA. Market season runs through late October, then makes one more outside appearance for the special Thanksgiving market. But the fun doesn’t end! Look for the Indoor Winter Farmers Market starting the first Saturday in November at the Granville Elementary School, 9:30 to noon.

Here’s everything you need to know about shopping at the Granville Farmers Market:

There are a few Saturdays each year that the market moves, due to the closure of Broadway. Broadway is a state route, and when it is closed for community events, the detour goes right up Main St., where the market is usually held. Look for the market (same time) at St. Edward’s Catholic Church on the east edge of town on Newark-Granville Rd. Yes, it’s a few more blocks, but there’s great parking and lots of nice shady spots to enjoy a snack. Those Saturdays often coincide with Denison's commencement, the Kiwanis 4th of July celebration and Bluesfest.

Come early. The best selection is to be had at the beginning of market and you just might beat the rush.

Bring cash. Or checks. Remember checks? Yes, many vendors now accept Square, but remember that this costs them money out of each purchase. The margin on food is very low, and the farmer can use every percentage they can get.

Bring bags. Bring a few sturdy shopping bags, and consider bringing your own produce bags to keep greens fresh or corral loose potatoes. Another option is a market basket, which is nice so things don’t get squished at the bottom of a bag.

Think about letting your dog sit this one out. Everyone loves your dog, but would you take your dog into a grocery store? Food is on display at the market within dog reach, on tables and tucked under tables where your dog can go exploring while you’re distracted, searching for change in your purse. And your dog would never do this, but dog fights in the middle of the busy market are no fun for anybody.

Don’t ask to buy stuff early. The vendors start selling at the ring of a bell at 8:30 on the dot. This may seem silly, but it is an important rule to ensure equal opportunity for all the vendors. (If you do see people shopping before the bell, they’re probably vendors, who have a special exemption because they don’t get a chance to shop once they start selling themselves. And they do need their coffee and chocolate croissant to make it through the morning!) Think about it this way: If the market was a store, the door would be locked so the shopkeepers could get ready in peace. There just aren’t any doors.

Don’t bargain. Most guides to shopping at farmers markets will tell you to show up at the end so you can get a great bargain, because otherwise any unsold food will go to waste. Would you walk into Walmart at the end of the night and ask for a deal? Plus, it’s not necessarily true. At the Granville market, leftover food may be donated through Share the Harvest, operated by the First Presbyterian Church. Or it may be sold through another channel, such as to a local restaurant.

Bring your kids. Let them choose a special item. Sure, it might be a cupcake, but it might also be a carrot. If they’re involved, they’ll enjoy themselves more. And they will learn what it’s like to support local businesses.

Do develop a relationship with your producers. At farmers markets you get the chance to support real people you can get to know. This is how a local economy should work, and it can be mutually beneficial. Perhaps the vendor will think of you when they need whatever service it is that you offer. Plus, you’ll learn when the best stuff is available and have the opportunity to place special orders. And being a loyal, gracious customer is often the best way to actually get a great deal.

Do your research. Learn a little about seasonality and pay attention to the weather and how it’s affecting farmers. (Tomatoes are not available in May and spinach is not available in July.) Some farms have newsletters or email lists or Facebook pages where they share what will be available at market so you can plan ahead.