Oakwood farmers market grew from ground up

Involved residents help team effort.

Contact this contributing writer at PamDillon@woh.rr.com.

The idea of an Oakwood Farmers Market conjures up an old sitcom, “Green Acres.” But it is opposite now: Instead of Lisa Douglas coming to the farm, Oliver Wendell Douglas comes to the suburbs.

In any case, the combination is an explosion of good food, good friends and good shopping.

The weekly market, located at 22 Orchard Drive in the city municipal lot by Far Hills Avenue, has already held its first event of the seasons. Future markets are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday through Sept. 3.

This market is organized and managed by Oakwood citizens. Dorthy Rhodes-Kupka, Amanda Robb and Mychaelyn Michalek got the ball rolling in 2013. They met with city representatives who OK’ed the idea, and they brought local business sponsors onboard to make it work.

“I had gone to other farmers markets and really enjoyed them. I’ve walked by the parking lot many times, and it’s a beautiful parking lot,” said Rhodes-Kupka. “I know that sounds really weird. But I thought it would be a great place for a Farmers Market.”

She talked it over with friends for a couple years, and then decided to go for it.

She send out an email to friends and acquaintances, and asked them to also forward it to people they thought would be interested in the idea.

“I ended up with a bunch of great people. The ones who showed up to the meeting had a passion for it. We found vendors and talked to the city, and got it going,” said Rhodes-Kupka.

The first market this year brought close to 800 people on June 4.

“Whitney Kling has done a great job with the vendors; we’ve got new ones, and more produce vendors,” said Rhodes-Kupka. “Last year we had two food trucks; we had about eight of them the first Saturday. Amanda Robb does a wonderful job. It’s a huge team effort.”

Vendors at these events include The Drunken Waffle. The business works directly with local breweries to add a little zip to their fare. On the menu: Beer Batter Waffles, Bocheeseian Rhapsody and Notorious B.I.G. The first is self-explanatory, the second is a grilled cheddar and jack cheese on a Herb & Hopps Waffle, and the third is a double cheeseburger in-between grilled cheese sandwich buns.

A local farm represented is the National Trail Family Farm, located between Eaton and Eldorado. It offers beef, pork, chicken and turkey; the animals are grass fed/non-GMO (genetically modified organism) fed.

“We also have eggs, homemade noodles, Angel food cakes, bread and cinnamon rolls,” said Sarah Landes, who with husband Ronald, has a very busy life with nine children and seven grandchildren. “This is our fourth year at the Oakwood market; we have several community supported agriculture representatives that buy from us there.”

Another vendor at the market is Lindy & Company. It offers healthy treats for dogs and cats; the most impressive part of the business is it partners with Daybreak to help homeless youth.

“The Oakwood Farmers Market is really well run and it gives businesses another venue to showcase their goods,” said Ann-Lisa Allen, president of the Kettering-Moraine-Oakwood Chamber of Commerce. “Events such as these become a retail destination that draws new clients to a certain area. There is a possibility that people will attend the market and experience their products for the first time.”