Thursday, May 30, 2013

Uptown Westerville Farmers' Market: Day Trip Agritourism - Blue Jacket Dairy

Add a touch of agritourism to your summer!

Angel and Jim King at Blue Jacket Dairy (Bellefontaine) tell us:

Heard from some customers this week who are planning some stay-cations and wanted to come out and see the cheese shop.

So, if you are looking for a fun road trip this summer, come see us. We have a large picture window that allows you to watch us make cheese.

Bring along a cooler to keep your cheese cold for the ride home.

Visit Blue Jacket Dairy online, click here!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Uptown Westerville Farmers' Market: May 29th Market Report

We are looking at a fabulous weather forecast for this week's Uptown Westerville Farmers' Market! Sunny skies, a light breeze, low humidity, temperatures in the 80s, and zero percent chance of precipitation. A perfect day for fresh air shopping for Market Wednesday's home-grown, home-made, and all Ohio fare.

This week's vendors: Sugar B Bakery, Montezuma Brand Sauces and Salsas, Sweet Thing Gourmet, Blue Jacket Dairy, Dana Lee's, Pleiades Maple Products, Northridge Organic Farm, Bildsten Landscape, Fox Hollow Farm, Bird's Haven Farms, Flying J Farm, Ohio Farm Direct, Bridgman Farm, Honey Health Farms, Doran's Family Farm, Hartzler Family Dairy.

Our farm vendors don't know what's coming to market until they pick, so no guarantees - last week, we did see a few strawberries at Bird's Haven Farms, and we know Bird's Haven Farms and Doran's Family Farm are waiting for strawberries to come on - so we'll let you know on twitter and facebook as soon as we can.

Update: Doran's Family Farm will have a small quantity of strawberries at today's market.

This is summer wedding season and an artisan food gift basket makes a great wedding gift!  We've also had brides and grooms order thank you gifts from Pleiades Maple Products, Honey Health Farms, and Sweet Thing Gourmet. So, keep a little farm fresh in mind when you are looking for new gift ideas!

Stop by Meza, 48 N. State, during market hours for the Meza Market Wednesday specially-priced tasting.  Meza features wines from the world-over, including a really nice selection of Ohio wines and Meza's Tatjana Brown can offer some great suggestions for market fare wine pairings. For more information, visit Meza online (and check out the blog).

School's out! So, you'll see more kids in more places all hours of the day in crosswalks, on bikes, on scooters, on skateboards, on the sidewalk, along the side of the road, in parking lots.... We're just sayin' - be safe.

Want to know more about the market? Check out the right margin, here on the blog, we've got answers to some FAQs and the basic Market Wednesday 411.

 Lettuce pots from Bildsten Landscape.

Meadow Maid cheese from Ohio Farm Direct.

Shopping at Hartzler Family Dairy.

Hanging flower baskets from Bildsten Landscape.

Rhubarb from Bird's Haven Farms.

Asparagus from Doran's Family Farm.

Yummy Maple Chocolate Chip cookies from Pleiades Maple Products.

Shopping at Fox Hollow Farm.

Sugar B Bakery's Jalapeno Cheddar Loaf.

Shopping at Honey Health Farms.

Summer Sausage from Ohio Farm Direct.

Shopping for Chips and Salsa at Montezuma Brand.

Ready to plant! Herbs from Bildsten Landscape.

Shopping at Flying J Farm.

Tomato plants from Bird's Haven Farms.

See you at the market!

Pictured above fresh-baked biscotti from Sweet Thing Gourmet.

Uptown Westerville Farmers' Market: Down on the Farm

Mike Laughlin (driving) and the Crew at Northridge Organic Farm.

There's a whole lot going on behind the scenes as Market Wednesday farmers work throughout the market season to bring fresh-picked produce to market.

This weekend, as we threw on sweatshirts and added a blanket to the bed, Lee Bird at Bird's Haven Farms tended to burning hay bails (a method borrowed from the Amish) to add particulate matter to the cold night air, to discourage the formation of frost. In the early a.m. hours, Lee grabbed a nap and then packed up and headed to market.

Transplanting tomatoes: Joseph Swainway (Mike's new partner at Northridge and owner of Swainway Urban Farm) drives the tractor while Jim Courtright and Zachary Burchfield load up the transplanter and get busy.

Our produce vendors have a tremendous passion for what they do along with a vast store of knowledge, and they share their stories with us on facebook.

Find out more about life on the farm and follow our farmers on facebook:

Branstool Orchards (Note: no 2013 info yet)

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Uptown Westerville Farmers' Market: Memorial Day Weekend Wishes

In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved. - Franklin D. Roosevelt

Remembering and honoring with gratitude. Gathering with friends and family. Welcoming summer. Because we can. Best Wishes for a safe, happy Memorial Day weekend!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Uptown Westerville Farmers' Market: Flying J Farm is a Green America Finalist!

Market Wednesday vendor Flying J Farm is a finalist for the Green America People and Planet Award.

You can participate in the final selection! Vote for Flying J Farm at Green America online - click here. (Voting is open until May 31st.)

Pictured: Shopping at Flying J Farm on Market Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Uptown Westerville Farmers' Market: May 22nd Market Report

The Uptown Westerville Farmers' Market farm fresh season continues with flowers, garden plants, and spring produce including radishes, lettuce, greens, asparagus, onions, and rhubarb.

This week's vendors include: Hartzler Family Dairy, Doran's Family Farm, Honey Health Farm, Bridgman Farm, Ohio Farm Direct, Flying J Farm, Bird's Haven Farms, Sugar B Bakery, Chuck Evans' Montezuma Brand Sauces and Sauces, Sweet Thing Gourmet, Blue Jacket Dairy, Pleiades Maple Products, Northridge Organic Farm, Bildsten Landscape, and Fox Hollow Farm.

We will not see Dana Lee's this week, but Dana will return for next week's market.

Update: Bridgman Farm will not be attending this week's market.

Stop by to visit our special guest, Westerville Public Library! WPL is a free and expansive resource for all things food including healthy eating, gardening, cooking, and cuisines.

Blue Jacket Dairy's new sheep's milk cheese.

Hanging flower baskets from Bildsten Landscape.

Herb garden varieties, including oregano, from Bridgman Farm.

Sugar B Bakery's market favorite, Spinach Loaf. Mmmmmmmm.

Shopping at Hartzler Family Dairy.

Raw honey from Honey Health Farms.

Delicious Maple-coated Puffed Spelt from Pleiades Maple Products

Jams from Sweet Thing Gourmet.

Shopping for flowers at Bildsten Landscape.

Fruit-based salsas at Montezuma Brand.

Tasting and shopping for Meadow Maid cheese at Ohio Farm Direct.

Flower baskets, pots and herb and vegetable plants at Bird's Haven Farms

Onions from Doran's Family Farm

Shopping at the Uptown Westerville Farmers' Market.

Interested in wine tasting and pairing suggestions? Stop by Meza, 48 N. State, just steps south of the market for Tatjana Brown's Market Wednesday Tasting.

Think about a trip to Market Wednesday for holiday weekend supplies!

Have a great week! See you at the market!

Uptown Westerville Farmers' Market: Thoughts and Prayers

The Uptown Westerville Farmers' Market vendors and management team hold the people of Oklahoma, especially Moore and greater Oklahoma City, close to our hearts and in our thoughts and prayers.

Uptown Westerville Farmers' Market: Community, Honor, Remembrance.

This Memorial Day Weekend in Westerville is a time for community, honor, and remembrance.

Friday, May 24th is Fourth Friday in Uptown Westerville! The theme for May is family-favorite Back to Nature. 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Uptown Westerville.

For more information, click here to visit the Westerville Visitors and Convention Bureau.

Also, beginning Friday, May 24th through Monday, May 27th, visit Field of Heroes @ Cleveland Ave. and County Line Rd. This is the fifth year for this poignant, interactive installation sponsored by the Westerville Sunrise Rotary Club.

For more information on Field of Heroes, click here.

To accompany Field of Heroes, beginning May 24th, visit Westerville Council Chambers at 21 S. State St. for the Lima Company Memorial: The Eyes of Freedom.  These life-size portraits of the Lima Company members who gave up their lives in Iraq in 2005, were painted by Ohio resident Anita Miller to honor:

Private First Class Christopher R. Dixon
Lance Corporal Christopher P. Lyons
Staff Sergeant Anthony L. Goodwin
Petty Officer 3rd Class Travis Youngblood (Navy Corpsman)
Sergeant Justin F. Hoffman
Staff Sergeant Kendall H. Ivy II
Lance Corporal Nicholas William B. Bloem
Corporal Andre L. Williams
Lance Corporal Grant B. Fraser
Lance Corporal Aaron H. Reed
Lance Corporal Edward A. Schroeder II
Sergeant David Kenneth J. Kreute
Lance Corporal Jourdan L. Grez
Lance Corporal William B. Wightman
Lance Corporal Timothy M. Bell, Jr.
Lance Corporal Eric J. Bernholtz
Corporal Dustin A. Derga
Lance Corporal Nicholas B. Erdy
Lance Corporal Wesley G. Davids
Sergeant David N. Wimberg
Lance Corporal Michael J. Cifuentes
Lance Corporal Christopher J. Dyer
Lance Corporal Jonathan W. Grant
Cpl. David Stephen "Bear" Stewart
Lance Corporal Kevin Waruinge
Sergeant Bradley Harper

For more information on The Eyes of Freedom, click here.

The morning of May 27th and 9:45 a.m., the Westerville Memorial Day Parade will convene at State and College.  The procession will proceed south on State, then west on Bishop Drive, and north on Knox to Otterbein Cemetery. In years past, Westerville residents attending the parade Uptown have followed along with the parade to the cemetery.  

True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. - Arthur Ashe

The vendors and management team of the Uptown Westerville Farmers' Market, wish you a safe, most enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend.

Uptown Westerville Farmers' Market: The Buzz @ Honey Health Farms

Honey Health Farms' Dale Benedict Shares the Story of his Farm and his Honey:


Of course it's all the millions of honeybees and in the spring of the year it's a remarkable sight after a long winter to see the bee hives come alive. It's one of the miracles of Mother Nature.

During the just completed winter months the honeybees survive by gathering into a cluster within the hive and eating the eighty pounds of honey that we leave for them that they produced last summer and fall. The cluster of bees maintain a winter time temperature of 92 degrees even though they winter in a wooden box surrounded by the ice and snow of Ohio's winter. By maintaining the 92 degree metobolic temperature through constant movement and body heat the cluster of bees protect the queen bee and insure to a degree the hive's survival.

A hive of bees consists of the:

▪ female worker bees

▪ drones, the male bees for breeding purposes

▪ the queen, of which, only one can be present or swarmming will occur when multiple queens exist

Swarmming is a natural process of always providing an active egg laying queen to insure that a hive remains viable and productive. If the honey bees in a hive sense that the present queen is becoming ineffective at laying eggs they feed "royal jelly" to one or more existing eggs in the hive and these fertilized eggs grow extra large and take on queen laying capabilities.

A good queen will lay upto 2,000 eggs per day during the spring, summer, and fall of her lifetime which can extend to three years or more. During the swarmming event about half the honeybees leave to find a new home with the new queen and the remaing honey bees stay behind.

Good beekeepers try to manage this event by removing old queens from the hive and introducing a new one prior to the honeybees deciding to do this on their own.

(Pictured above a swarming hive in a barrel.)

When spring arrives on the honey farm the beekeepers take to the field to inspect each hive, rotate the hive boxes so the bees are starting the season in the lower box and to remove queen cells prior to the hive wanting to swarm.

Here in Ohio, most beekeepers keep their bees in a "two deep box" system and then place a "supper box or more" on each hive to allow the honeybees to produce honey for humans when a major blossoming period begins. Here at Honey Health Farms we produce a highly desirable wildflower honey.

The honey producing cycle is very much like farming, as it depends upon favorable weather. During the warm and hot days when sunlight hours are extended, honeybees work from early daylight to the last rays of sunlight.

Honeybees life cycle varies with the season with newborn bees living for less than a month during spring and summer and extending out to four-five months over the winter to help the queen survive for the following year when the process begins all over.

One interesting note: drones, the male bee within the hive structure, live only from spring until fall when the worker bees kick them out to freeze. You see, drones don't produce honey and therefore the worker bee females don't think they should be allowed to eat honey all winter long. Seem like justice for a non-producer, doesn't it?


Local raw honey (honey that hasn't been pasturized) has been shown to be effective for reducing the affects of allergies. Honeybees gather the pollen that causes you to have allergies and they consume it as well as making other useful products from it to insure their survival. Raw honey has pollen in it and as you take small daily does of it your body builds up an immunity to rag weed, tree, grass and floral pollens.

The products that honeybees produce in their hives has vitamins and minerals in them and as well they are anti-microbal.

These many health benefits of honey is the reason that I changed the name of the company from Ben-Bee Apairies to Honey Health Farms. We produce all of our own labels to differentiate our brand from common honey labels.


Newspapers and nightly news broadcasts have been filled over the last five years or so with the question about the serious decline in the honeybee population. There seems to be no easy answer with various sides disputing each other.

The latest issue brewing is whether neo-nicotinoid pesticides threaten honeybees and other insects. Neo-nicotinoid is a method by which insecticide is bio-engineered into the plant seed and remains in the plant as it grows to maturity.

As a beekeeper and provider of honey I take the threat of any pesticide very seriously and therefore have always politely declined when orchard owners or large producers of pumkins, etc. have asked me to place my hives on their properties.

We only place our hives in pristine areas.


I suspect that most of us get into endeavors without realizing why. I know that was the case with me when I started beekeeping some twelve to fourteen years ago.

Sure, we had honeybees on the farm where I grew up. It helped to replace sugar which was rationed during World War 11 and I certainly have an interest in "Mother Nature".

But recently while my daughter Kim was doing a geneology study on the Benedict family, She discovered that my Great, Great, Great Grandfather Aaron Benedict was a renown beekeeper.

Aaron lived in Peru Township in Delaware County along Alum Creek. Right after the Cival War he began beekeeping and later had apairies located on Kelly's Island in Lake Erie. He conducted breeding programs on the island based upon the need to do so in a pristine area ( free of feral or wild honeybees). Aaron shipped honeybees all over the world from this location.

The land in Peru Township was awarded to the Benedict family for their earlier service in the Revolutionary War.

Now maybe that's the reason I started raising honeybees........ and that's the real Buzz.
- Dale Benedict

To learn more about Aaron Benedict, including his involvement in the Underground Railroad, click here.

Photographs provided by Dale Benedict.