News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Don Drumm Studios

Hennes Paynter Communications

Lehmans


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Social Issues




Grown out roots in Ashland are a good thing
Local Roots of Wooster's idea for a hybrid farmers' market/grocery store is catching on not only in Ashland, but in other parts of the country
by WKSU's VIVIAN GOODMAN
This story is part of a special series.


Reporter
Vivian Goodman
 
Jacob Schwendemann is only 4, but already learning about healthy eating. Jacob, his mom, April, and baby sister Sara shop often at Local Roots, both in Ashland and Wooster.
Courtesy of Vivian Goodman
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

A new approach to the community farmers’ market reached a milestone this month when Ashland Local Roots started opening six days a week. 

Business has been brisk for the hybrid grocery store and farmers’ market, the first offshoot of a grass-roots, local foods project initiated by farmers and community leaders in nearby Wooster. Ashland’s market is the Wooster Local Roots Cooperative’s first official franchisee. But as WKSU’s Vivian Goodman reports in today’s Quick Bite, the concept also has taken root in other parts of the country.

LISTEN: The seed of a good idea takes root

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:26)


 “Thank you I’m so excited to have blueberries!”

Louise Fleming Dufala knows the fruit at Ashland Local Roots is farm-fresh. “So I pay a little bit more. I go out of my way to get it.”  

How it works
Farmers pay a $50 annual fee to bring produce here to be sold on consignment, just like at a resale clothing shop.

Community volunteers, who stock the shelves and run the register, stamp on bar codes to be swiped at the central checkout.

Farmer Jason Wesley just arrived from Pleasant Valley Growers in Lucas with fresh-picked berries and a bushel of summer squash. 

Overhead’s low enough for farmers like Wesley to get back 90 percent of gross receipts.

 Convenience for farmers and shoppers alike
“It goes right from the field to the table.”

At most farmers’ markets, the farmer has to be there. Not here.

“That’s another key component. We can’t be at multiple farmers’ markets when we’re at the peak of our business like the blueberries and the zucchini and the summer squash.”

Wesley can drop it off at Local Roots and get right back to his fields while his customers get his produce at the peak of freshness.

“If they can’t meet us at the Saturday morning Bellville Farmer’s Market, they can come up here to Local Roots and get it on Thursday.”

Imitators are cropping up
The model’s apparently working.

In the four years since it opened, Local Roots has sold $2 million worth of goods. And it has imitators all across the country.

Sally Baker drove 500 miles from the old mill village of Philmont, N.Y., to meet with Local Roots founders in Wooster. And she came away inspired.

“Fresh food delivery can actually be produced within little communities. That’s what Local Roots has developed. It’s a great model.”  

Philmont has about 1,400 residents.

Baker and a committee of volunteers of Philmont Beautification, Inc. hope to open their new market in about six to eight months.

A healthier community is one of the payoffs
Meanwhile in Huntington, W.Va, a non-profit co-op called The Wild Ramp just celebrated its second anniversary.

It was a 2010 Washington Post article about Local Roots and a celebrity chef’s slamming of Huntington’s eating habits that spurred Lauren Kemp’s group to come to Wooster for a workshop in 2012.

“When Jamie Oliver came to town to point out that Huntington is the fattest, most unhappy and unhealthy city in America, a lot of people were very upset by that. That’s when the city began to turn around.”   

Encouraging healthy eating was among the original goals of Local Roots. It’s easier now for Maryann Hutchins of Ashland to find what she wants for her children.

“Organic, non-GMO, no hormones, no antibiotics, really all of it. I’m trying to go as clean as I can be.”  

Food a mother can trust
She’s shopping at Local Roots today for organic zucchini and fermented vegetables with 3-year-old Leah by her side and 9-month-old Beau cradled in her arms.

“You can’t really find a lot of organic stuff in stores. And even if it is (there), I don’t know if I trust it. So this store’s been a blessing.”  

Eighteen-year-old Rachel Nowakowski of Ashland might be the market’s youngest volunteer. “I love the place. I love what we represent and do. Mostly I run the register and just help customers and tidy things up.”   

It’s an offshoot
Farmer Dave Benchoff of Banzhaf Garten Organic Farm helped get the Wooster market started. He now serves on the Ashland Local Roots steering committee.

"In Wooster we refer to this as the sprout.”   

They’re only 21 miles apart and many customers like April Schwendemann shop at both markets.

“We like to be able to buy our produce fresh. Of course it tastes better when it’s fresh. So we like to come here where we know where it’s come from. We know how it’s been raised.”  

She knows Dave Benchoff and most of the farmers, too.

Cultivating community
“We have our regulars who come once a week. They like to strike up conversations with people. And that’s what we want.”  

Local Roots in Wooster also has a popular café and has become a community clubhouse.

Benchoff feels the same energy building at the Ashland market.

“It’s headed that way. It’s growing. Like our T-shirt says: ‘Cultivate community.' " 

And that’s this week’s Quick Bite, next week we look at gluten from both culinary and medical perspectives.

(Click image for larger view.)

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook






Stories with Recent Comments

Ohio to appeal ruling keeping Akron's red light cameras in place
I don't understand what all the fuss is about. If you don't like tickets drive the speed limit and stop at red lights. It's really all up to you.

Who's on public assistance in Ohio?
legalize marijuana get over it,,, its here its been the main drug test scare of a lifetime. u got people that get drunk every night and work u got peoples on ...

Letters from a lost friend: A Beachwood survivor's Holocaust remembrance
What a great story -- and how important it was for both Marlene and her mother to tell it! Thank you.

Ohio lawmaker calls for an East Cleveland bailout
Instead of blaming Kasich and the Republicans for all of East Cleveland's fiscal woes, take a look at the facts. Some political entities in Ohio are too small ...

Legalized marijuana is a boon for a Cleveland-area grow light maker
Shouldn't he be in jail for paraphernalia? He knows he is selling for marijuana production.

Akron city council to vote on resolution for hiring ex-offenders
Great as a taxpayer I paid for the police to catch them, the free lawyer, the jail to house them , the food their kids eat the medical for them and all its goin...

5 of 8 rule headed for a vote
this is just another way for kasich to pass the buck and claim that it gives the local districts control. Few schools have enough money because of his cuts. T...

A passionate debate about parole in Ohio
I was heartened to hear that the legislators will consider ANY legislation to break the chains the parole board has put on these old law offenders who have serv...

Bill would allow Ohio religious leaders to refuse to do gay marriages
This is just a lot of political posturing. The free exercise clause of the 1st Amendment already protects clergy from being forced by civil authorities to perfo...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University