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West Chester Farmers' Market smaller, still worth the trip

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Paying a visit to the West Chester Farmers' Market on the past Saturday morning found the market smaller than it had been in the past. This, however, is only a result of the growth of other markets in the area, and there was no trouble in picking up a full list of items.

A previous visit to the West Chester Market included a conversation with Sonya Staffan, whose company is called the Jam and Jelly Lady. If memory serves, the conversation included discussion of how expansion of farmers' markets throughout the area had local vendors stretched thin. Sonya was a long-time vendor at this and other markets, but she, true to her word, is no longer found there, or at any other market. She now has a storefront in Lebanon, where she sells the majority of her products. They are also found in a dozen or so other southwest Ohio shops.

If man doesn't live by bread alone, neither can a farmers' market survive without selling more than vegetables and rag rugs. In spite of the smaller size of the market, the diversity of offerings is still quite good.

The sausage sold by Morning Sun Farm was previously named best around in these pages. While last week's featured company, A Brown House, is now running neck-and-neck with them, the salt, pepper, and sage breakfast sausage is still too good too pass up. There's still a coffee vendor (La Terza, not the same one); there are still dog treats for sale (True Nature, still the same but now with paws up from both the Corgi and the Husky). Chris' Honey is also still participating.

Irons Fruit Farm is a fourth-generation orchard selling locally grown fruits and vegetables. Early transparent apples are in at the orchard, and at the farmers's markets. Like other Ohio farmers, however, all peaches were lost to a late frost, and only South Carolina peaches are currently available. Red raspberries and blackberries are somewhat delayed, and there are only enough to supply the farm store at Irons. None are yet available at market.

Once again, Mill Branch Soap Company was selling home-grown vegetables, most notably potatoes, as at previous visits. Stengl's Catering is a newer vendor that offers French baguettes weekly, and also a line-up of condiments. New and popular on this day was bacon-bleu cheese dressing.

Many of these aforementioned vendors are the same as patronized in the past. Please visit the market to discover your own favorites.

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