CLARKS SUMMIT —Despite falling temperatures, local farms and businesses still have home-grown products available for purchase through the Abington Winter Farm Market each Saturday at the Clarks Summit United Methodist Church.
On Saturday, Jan. 9, the opening day of the market, 12 vendors from across Northeastern Pennsylvania, including many from the Abingtons, showcased products from lettuce to jerky to pies.
Eric Garver, of Conifer Corner in Factoryville, sold out of the business’s raspberry pepper jerky during the first few hours and was thrilled with the support from the community.
“There seems to be a lot of excitement in the community,” Garver said. “There is a market in Scranton, but it has a very different setting and atmosphere. This market will be truly unique to the area.”
Garver believes the partnership between the vendors, church and patrons as well as interactive events separates the market from others in the area.
“The meals served by the church will have different items from various vendors each week,” he said. “For example, Annie’s Country Kitchen, of Newton Township, donated salsa to use in the chili sold by the church during opening day. Generally, you don’t see farms working with churches to serve meals to the community.
“It’s not strictly a market where people will pick up their produce and leave. We plan on having different events each month including a Kids Day on Saturday, Feb. 6 that will feature live baby goats from Orson’s Best Garden Center and Farmstand in Union Dale and arts and crafts projects for children.”
Garver led the planning to bring the market to Clarks Summit after consulting with other farmers and members of the church. The idea came from events previously held by Fullers Overlook Farm at the Waverly Community House.
“I wanted to have a place more accessible to the farmers and with better parking,” Garver said. “A lot of times, the winter season is tough for farms. A lot of people don’t know they are still producing items in the winter.”
Garver participated in a craft show at the church and thought the venue would make a great spot for the market.
“Once I got to know the people there, it dawned on me that it might be a good, central location for the market,” he said.
Bill and Amanda Banta, of Rowlands Pennsylvania Produce in Falls, which specializes in hydroponic lettuce and greens, also had a successful first day at the market.
“We brought quite a bit of lettuce and sold out in an hour,” Bill Banta said. “It’s been wonderful; there has been a great turnout.”
Banta believes the success of local markets is due in large part to the camaraderie between the farmers.
“Markets like this are a great boost for small farms,” he said. “Most of us know each other from other farmers markets. We travel in the same circles and help each other out.”
According to Garver, the market should be a boon to the entire community.
“Ten percent of the proceeds will go directly back to support the church,” he said. “It should be a good, symbiotic (relationship) between the farmers, church and community.”
Keystone Konfections, of Tunkhannock, which specializes in fresh pies, fruit-filled cinnamon rolls, fresh baked bread, cookies, cupcakes and chocolate-covered popcorn, also had a stand at the market.
The small business is a division of Keystone Community Resources.
“We provide people with disabilities an opportunity for employment in the community,” Dean White of Keystone Konfections said.
White thinks local markets are important to help shops and farms thrive under sometimes difficult circumstances.
“It gives the small farms and businesses a chance to get exposure they might not otherwise have,” he said.
The Abington Winter Farm Market is scheduled to continue from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays through May 28.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.