Haymaker Farmers’ Market began in July of 1992 as a shared vision between Jo Anne Jones, her husband Fritz Seefeldt and Rick Hawksley. The “Haymaker Farm Market” as it was then known opened with just 4 vendors and an article in the Record-Courier. Traffic was slow those first few Saturdays, but as awareness grew, so did the popularity and attendance.
The market was organized to provide an outlet for locally grown agricultural products as well as to encourage enterprise in Kent’s struggling central business district. Rick left after the end of the market’s second year and his wife Joan Inderhees joined the team until 1996. Joan’s valuable contributions included a new logo and much needed creative work on signage design as well as the vendor brochure.
During these early years, local farmer Dan Kamburoff helped with book keeping as well as providing the growing farm market a bountiful supply of fresh sweet corn and assorted locally grown produce. Fritz Seefeldt and Jo Anne Jones managed day to day operations by setting up street side signs, arranging newspaper advertisements, paying bills and contacting area farmers about selling at the new market.
Since this time the market has enjoyed the assistance of volunteers who included farmer Donna Pawlicki. Donna contributed by painting the market name on the trim of the vendor umbrellas. Recently, local writer and graphic designer, Kelly Ferry has helped with a new market web site as well as filling in as needed when Fritz or Jo Anne aren’t able to set up the market.
During the past five years, the market now known as Haymaker Farmers’ Market has grown to over 45 vendors offering a wide variety of local fare. The addition this past season of the “Music @ the Market” series has forged a stronger connection between the market and Kent’s vibrant music community.
The 2008 holiday season in Kent was marked by the addition of two special indoor markets which were widely attended by the community and included many of the regular summer vendors and musicians as well as several new folks. These markets were held in a large garage area owned by the law firm of Willams, Welser and Kratcoski LLC. The popularity of the holiday market paved the way toward making it the now annual event. In the spring of 2009, the market became incorporated as a non-profit in the State of Ohio.
The Mission of Haymaker Farmers’ Market-
* to provide high quality, fresh, more flavorful and nutritious agricultural products and baked goods at competitive prices to Kent and surrounding communities;
* to promote local agricultural production in order to retain arable land for the purpose of growing food;
* to foster a positive sense of community, promote civic interaction and discourse in an open-air public setting, and to provide an alternative public venue for local charitable organizations;
* to help promote retail development within the city’s central business district through spin-off retail trade and to create a mutually beneficial relationship between the farmers’ market and the business community at large;
* to improve public awareness of the many agricultural products and baked goods available from local producers;
* and to foster a link between the local arts and music communities and the farmers’ market by providing a free alternative performance venue.