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Schaeffler House is perfect setting for Hillsboro farmers market

By JESSICA BERNHARDT

Staff writer

Three years ago, the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce contacted Sheryl Lahr. They told her there was a group of people who thought it would be a good idea to have a farmer's market. Lahr told them she would volunteer to set it up only if her sister, Joni Calam, helped her. Calam stepped up and said yes.

Now the farmer's market is in its third year and providing an opportunity for residents to get together and interact, which makes the market successful each week.

Lahr said, "You can go and meet your neighbors. You can find something to eat. You can take something home that's fresh and locally grown. It's a really nice setting and we wanted to promote the community atmosphere."

Vendors at the market feel the same way.

Kelly Krch tries to make it to the market every week. She makes handmade beaded and wire-work jewelry. She said, "It's a nice place for people to come and congregate."

Kathy Jantz from Durham makes the drive to Hillsboro each week for the farmers market. She said she's had her baked goods at the market every week. She feels spending her time at the market is successful. "Not only because I sell my stuff but I enjoy baking at home and getting out and seeing people here. People like baked goods and here it is and they can come and get it."

Jantz's favorite part about going to the market is being able to provide a service. "A lot of the ladies who come say thanks because I can do their baking for them."

Customers tend to be faithful to the market as well.

Lahr said there is a group of people who attend the market each week to do their "baking."

Michael and Karolynn Pearman moved to Hillsboro about a year ago and have been regular customers ever since. Michael said, "We come for the food and the fellowship."

Calam said getting people to realize the importance of farmers markets is key. "Every year there are so many more farmers markets starting all over the country. To have fresh, local produce makes a community more self-sufficient. We need to support it. We're here for the long-haul."

Produce is a big deal right now. Lahr said, "It's a huge market right now, especially with the produce. Even economically speaking there is a whole group of people out there who are committed to buying locally."

Attendance for the farmers market is generally high. Lahr said, "The season starts out slow but as produce kicks up then customer count picks up."

Something unique about the Hillsboro farmers market is the time it happens. Lahr said, "We're open in the evening. We're generally not interfering with anybody else's schedule."

The market generally opens in May and runs until September. The market is from 5 to 7 p.m. every Thursday at the Schaeffler House.

Lahr said last year they didn't start until the end of May because the weather was so bad and nothing was growing yet. This year, however, they started the first of May.

The booth fee for vendors is $15 each month, or $5 a night.

Lahr said, "The only requirements are you have to bring things homegrown or homemade."

The last week of each month is "garage sale night." People are allowed to bring out whatever they want. It doesn't have to be homemade or homegrown. "It's for people who don't have a very huge assortment of things to have a regular garage sale."

The market usually runs rain or shine. Lahr said, "We always say to people that we'll be here having market unless the tornado sirens are going off. We want continuity."

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