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Local farm market vendors represented at Centerville Americana Festival

Patrons as far north on 48 as the eye could see....
Patrons as far north on 48 as the eye could see....
M. Kuntavanish

Local farm market vendors were among the vendors represented in yesterday’s Americana Fourth of July Festival in Centerville. The event began in 1972 as a sidewalk sale promoted by the Centerville downtown merchants; nowadays, the City closes the streets for a 4th of July Festival which includes a parade, an antique and classic car and truck show, a 5K run, live music, children’s activities and more.

Over 75,000 people attend the festival each year, and yesterday’s event was no exception, with crowds as far as the eye could see looking north on highway 48.

Vendor booths were located on North Main Street, from Franklin Street north into Benham’s Grove and included farm market booths with a variety of salsas, gourmet pet treats, candles, wooden roses and more.

Walt’s Homemade Salsa was there with their tasty salsa - a combination of tomatoes, black beans, yellow and white corn, fresh red onion and red bell pepper plus a variety of spices (and peppers, as you climb the heat ladder from Mild, to Medium, to Hot and X-Hot). There are no added preservatives, the produce is grown locally and the salsas are canned locally!

Tom’s Garden brought along their Man Sauce, their (slightly less hot) Woman Sauce, their Mistress Sauce (“hotter and more expensive”), and their new Habanero Heatwave Shake for popcorn, nachos or anything else you care to sprinkle some heat onto. No chemicals, no additives, no pesticides, and no artificial ‘flavors’ are used in Tom’s products, and the vegetable ingredients are all grown by Tom in his Sugarcreek township garden. Tom’s Garden creates hot sauces and shakes that still allow you to taste the flavors of the vegetables involved!

Marion’s Candles ‘n Crafts and Missy’s Wooden Roses (regular vendors at Dayton's 2nd Street Market) brought along their handmade items: in addition to creating wooden roses in every color imaginable, they also have soy-based candles made with soy bean butter, vitamin E, lecithin and sterolins. When burning the candle, the warm wax can be applied to the skin to soften it, reduce the appearance of scars and diminish age spots. They are always happy to demonstrate the soothing effect of the wax on your skin. Products with shea butter, aloe and jojoba oil are available as well; these soften, nourish and moisturize the skin.

One of the regular vendors at the Sugarcreek Township Farm Market, A Bit of a Bite Salsa was also present with salsas created using fresh, locally-sourced, GMO-free vegetables such as tomatoes, zucchini, onions, hot peppers and cilantro. A blend of organic spices are then added, but no preservatives, artificial ingredients or high fructose corn syrups are ever used. As an example of the freshness in this salsa, the summer zucchinis are picked one morning and within 48 hours they have been turned into salsa and canned! All of A Bit of a Bite salsas are vegan and free of gluten, soy and peanut products, and several levels of ‘heat’ are available to suit any preference.

Pure Ohio Maple Syrup brought along maple syrup created locally using no chemicals, preservatives or artificial flavorings in the processing of the syrup—the flavor comes solely from the maple tree itself. Surprisingly, maple syrup contains as much calcium as milk (15 times the calcium of honey), significant amounts of zinc and manganese and trace amounts of vitamins B2, B5, B6, niacin, biotin and folic acid. You can also purchase Pure Ohio Maple Syrup products at the 2nd Street Market in Dayton.

Sweet P’s Handcrafted Ice Pops were doing a brisk business. These tasty ice pops (regularly available at the 2nd St Market as well as at their Kettering location) are similar to Mexican paletas and are made using the freshest ingredients. and unique flavors.

Not to forget the pets, Yapa out of Tipp City had a booth with handcrafted dog and cat treats and toys created by individuals with disabilities. Creating the products allows these individuals to learn cooking and sewing skills, enhances hand-eye coordination, and allows them to earn wages.

New to this Examiner was Seasonal Selections Gourmet Salsas out of Waynesville, Ohio. Makers of salsas since 1998, they offer some unique salsas such as Spicy Sauerkraut (of course) Mostly Morel and Bacon. Salsas are either sweet or with a more serious kick to them, and they are delicious! Samples were available for all of the salsas, with the Mostly Morel and the Bacon salsas being our personal favorites. SeasonaSelections’ next stop is the Queen City Sausage Festival in Cincinnati, but you can look for them at our local venues after that, including, of course, the Sauerkraut Festival in Waynesville.

As you visit the many festivals around the Miami Valley this summer, keep an eye out for our local vendors and their delicious, fresh and tasty wares.