The Titusville Outdoor Market held its final event for the season Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Big G Tire & Auto, located at 11652 Hydetown Road (Route 8).
After a very successful season, Titusville Renaissance Board Chair and Market Volunteer Assistant Leah Carter reflected on the year.
Carter said the market has been in business since 2006, usually on Tuesdays and Saturdays between June and October, with the slogan “home grown, handcrafted and farm fresh.” She explained: “We love to support not only local agriculture but also local artisans who make handmade products. We also have non-profit organizations that can participate for free.”
One of the market’s largest partners is Crawford County Drug & Alcohol. “Seems like an odd partner,” Carter joked. “What does this have to do with farmers markets? But they’re all about making healthy choices, and that’s what we preach.” He said they are a great partner of the market.
Carter added that they also hold monthly “Share the Produce” food drives for the Titusville Area Food Bank. “We encourage people to buy extra and donate it to the food bank on the spot. So they’ll let me know how many pounds have been donated that month, and then we’ll see if we can beat it the next month.”
Any nonprofit can participate in the marketplace for free to share information, raise funds, and promote programs. Carter noted that the YW, Benson Library and Boy Scouts, among others, have all participated in the market in some form.
“We strive to be a good community partner while supporting local agriculture, local artisans and local entrepreneurs.”
The market is full of all kinds of vendors, about 20 in all, he said. In addition to fruits and vegetables, wood products, jellies, jams, meat, honey, eggs, maple syrup, milk, bakery products, etc. They sold a wide range of products including
He listed some of the various vendors who frequent the market, including a beekeeper who plays guitar for live music; a seller of lavender with recipes for cooking with it; a goat milk seller who also sells soaps and lotions made from milk; and a maple syrup vendor that makes condiments, sweets, flavored syrups, as well as recipes for a variety of ways to cook with syrup.
An Amish vendor will bring a custom-made wagon, Carter noted. “He comes with a horse and carriage. When he gets there, he unties the horse and stabs it in the grass. His cart was customized by him so that the sides of the cart could be folded. And opens his cabin for his product. This is the most beautiful thing.”
The market also runs various promotional programs that attract special guests. One of their recent guests was Paws 4 a Cause. Visit the Crawford County Dairy Princess during National Dairy Month and American Cheese Month. An ice cream truck has arrived at the market to celebrate National Ice Cream Day. For World Bee Day, a beekeeper vendor brought his equipment and showed how to extract honey from beehives. He had brought a honey extractor so that the visiting children could try it out.
One of the many highlights of the market was guest chef Bruce Peterson, who came out and used produce from the market to create a variety of dishes. Carter said they will be giving out free samples to the public and Peterson will be discussing recipes and dishes with everyone.
Another popular aspect of the market were the live goats that local Amy Sines would bring. “They’re a hit every year,” Carter said. The goats would also help promote the goat products sold in the market. And for Carter personally, he said, “One of the highlights for me was the vendor who came in with this giant pumpkin!”
“We try to make it educational, we try to make it fun. Suitable for all ages. It’s not just baby stuff; adults can also enjoy it and learn something new.”
Carter also noted that they try to be hospitable. Produce vendors accept large farmer food stamps, WIC, and some support SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs).
Since it is located on Route 8, the CATA bus also takes people from the market to the city on Tuesdays.
Carter said that could change next season. In May last year, they set up a pop-up market for people getting ready to plant their gardens. “It was so successful that the vendors were interested in maybe starting the season a little earlier,” Carter explained. He said they could decide to launch by the end of May in 2023, although that is still under discussion. Planning for the market will begin next March.
And Carter is looking forward to the upcoming season. “We are always ready to entertain requests for new vendors. We just enjoy supporting local artisans, agriculture and local farmers.”
For those interested in attending next year’s market as a vendor or non-profit participant, they can contact Titusville Renaissance at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (814) 827-1012. There will also be applications in the Chamber of Commerce in the summer months. It’s a flat fee, free for the nonprofit, depending on how much the vendor participates throughout the season, Carter said.
Carter said they are also accepting volunteers to help out. “If anyone is interested in volunteering to run the market, we are always looking for help.”